Abstract Chronic kidney disease affects 10 per cent of the general population. A number of studies over the last decade have established that there is a higher prevalence of depression amongst those with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Biological, psychological and socio-economic factors influence the higher prevalence of depression in this population. The complex interplay between bio-psycho-social factors helps explain the bidirectional relationship between progress of CKD and depression. We summarize the prevalence and etiology of depression in those suffering from CKD and describe in brief the impact of depression in CKD on outcomes such as mortality and morbidity, as well as the different management options that are available. The purpose of this article is to provide a summarized and clinically applicable update on depression for nurses, which will assist them in recognizing and seeking treatment for depression, as well as highlight what is already being done and what needs to be done in terms of recognition and treatment of this common psychiatric condition.