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Postgradaute Rheumatology Nursing

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  • Objectives
    The overall aim of the MSc in Rheumatology Nursing is to facilitate the development of the skills, knowledge and attitudes relevant to advanced nursing practice in rheumatology. This will include the engagement of rheumatology nurses in aspects of drug therapy, clinical assessment, psycho-social issues and appraisal of research so that they may be able to analyse, reflect on and evaluate clinical practice in these areas, and enhance their own professional capabilities. At the same time the aim is to equip these nurses with the necessary skills to appraise and evaluate research, and to design and undertake their own research projects. The courses aims and objectives are closely aligned to national developments in rheumatology nurse specialism, which should prove attractive to NHS trusts who are seeking high quality courses for nurses to be sponsored to attend.
  • Entry requirements
    All candidates will have a nurse qualification, current registration with the UKCC and significant experience of the routine nursing management of patients with rheumatalogical disorders. Candidates will normally have either a degree (at least second class honours) or an equivalent professional qualification and appropriate experience. Candidates will normally be required to: • Provide a portfolio of their previous experience along with their completed application form • Complete a 1,200 word assignment, to be assessed by the interview panel • Attend an interview
  • Academic Title
    MSc, Postgraduate Diploma Rheumatology Nursing
  • Course description
    Part-Time study


    Over the last decade there has been a major increase in the number of nurses engaged in specialist roles within rheumatology. This development has seen an expansion in the clinical skills used by such practitioners within the rheumatology field. Many rheumatology nurses practising at a specialist/advanced level undertake patient assessment clinics, drug surveillance and counselling clinics and are involved in patient and multidisciplinary education programmes. Not surprisingly, these health professionals often express a desire to extend their knowledge base to complement their clinical skills.

    Course participants will already be experienced practitioners in the field of rheumatology. The course will encourage an analytical and questioning approach to the care of people with rheumatism. It will lead students to evaluate their current practice and to adopt innovative practice, based on critical appraisal of research and development of evidence-based practice developing from such evaluation of research.

    Course Structure and Content

    The main academic venue for this course will be the Staffordshire Rheumatology Centre at the Haywood Hospital in Stoke. The Clinical Skills laboratory at the School of Postgraduate Medicine will also be used. Courses will be taught through a mixture of lectures, interactive tutorials, problem-based learning, workshops, formal presentations and guided study. Some tutorials will offer students the opportunity to peer-review each other’s activity, using tapes and video. For the physical assessment module, tutors have been involved in designing an interactive computer package to support home-based learning. Written handout and visual aids will be used throughout the course. All students will be required to undertake a period of private study, equivalent to an average of eight hours a week. Course preparation and study for assessment requirements will be made explicit throughout.

    Course Modules

    The course content has been developed in the light of feedback from rheumatology nurses practising in the UK.

    Year One

    • An Introduction to Clinical Effectiveness in Rheumatology Nursing (15 credits) – An essential component of advanced nursing practice is the implementation of evidence-based practice. This constitutes one of the cornerstones of clinical effectiveness. Many rheumatology nurses practising at an advanced level have few opportunities to explore the evidence base underlying their discipline. This module seeks to address the gap and to provide the student with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of research. This module will form an essential foundation for the rest of the course. Students will develop skills in literature searching and performing literature reviews, in understanding statistical principles and will gain a practical insight into the research process.

    Structure: 5 days

    • Physical Assessment in Rheumatology Nursing (15 credits) – Many rheumatology nurses are involved in conducting their own clinics for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This module will provide the student with the knowledge and skills required to undertake a clinical assessment and examination of the shoulder, knee and hand complexes in patients with rheumatological disorders and on that basis to develop management plans.

    Structure: One -day and 2-day block

    • Drug Therapy in Rheumatological Practice (30 credits) – Much of the rheumatology nurse’s work centres around counselling and managing patients with respect to anti-rheumatic drug treatment. This module is aimed at increasing the student’s knowledge of anti-rheumatic drugs, their side effects and the basis for their use in clinical practice. It will also develop the skills of the student in the interpretation of results of investigations commonly performed in patients taking anti-rheumatic drugs.

    Structure: Three blocks of days

    Year Two

    • Psychological and Social Aspects of Care in Rheumatological Practice (30 credits) – This module will examine the effects that rheumatological illness can have on psychological and social functioning. This is a complex multifarious area and the module will address both the wider implications e.g.health policy, alongside the specific influences on psycho social well-being e.g.social support. The intention of the module is to enable the student to incorporate theoretical understanding into clinical application.

    Structure: Three blocks of days

    • Research Outcomes in Arthritis and Advances in Rheumatological Nursing Research (30 credits) – A fundamental aspect of research is measurement of outcome. Clinical studies and audit in rheumatology utilise both generic and specific outcome measures. This module will enable the student to examine existing measures and their relevance to clinical practice. The module will also explore research in rheumatology nursing including research design and application to practice. The student will also gain experience in preparing a research proposal.

    Structure: Three blocks of days

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