Current provision of rheumatology education for undergraduate nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy students in the UK

Almeida, C., Clarke, B., O'Brien, A., Hammond, A., Ryan, S., Kay, L. and Hewlett, S. (2006) Current provision of rheumatology education for undergraduate nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy students in the UK. Rheumatology, 45 (7). pp. 868-873. ISSN 1462-0324 Available from:

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Objectives: Rheumatological conditions are common and all health professionals (HPs) therefore need sufficient knowledge and skills to manage patients safely and effectively. The aim of this study was to examine current undergraduate education in rheumatology for HPs in the UK. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to curriculum organizers and clinical placement officers for all undergraduate courses in adult nursing, occupational therapy (OT) and physiotherapy (PT) in the UK to ascertain the nature and amount of rheumatology theory and clinical exposure provided. Results: Of the 47 adult nursing, 26 OT and 30 PT undergraduate courses surveyed, 85–90% responded. Overall, rheumatology teaching is 5–10 h over 3 yr. Nursing students receive moderate/in-depth teaching on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in only 52% of courses (OT 91%, PT 96%) and on osteoarthritis (OA) in 63% (OT 91%, PT 92%). Clinical experience of RA is probably/definitely available in only 56% of nursing courses (OT 72%, PT 88%), with similar results in OA. Overall, nursing students receive the least rheumatology exposure, particularly in psychosocial issues and symptom management, while PT students receive the most. OT students have limited opportunities for clinical exposure to psychosocial and joint protection issues. Use of local rheumatology clinical HP experts is variable (18–93%) and cross-disciplinary exposure is limited (0–36%). Many educators consider their rheumatology training to be insufficient (nursing 50%, PT 42%, OT 24%). Conclusions: Rheumatology training for undergraduate HPs is limited in key areas and often fails to take advantage of local clinical expertise, with nursing students particularly restricted. Clinical HP experts should consider novel methods of addressing these shortfalls within the limited curriculum time av

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:rheumatology, education, undergraduate, health professionals, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Nursing and Midwifery
ID Code:2953
Deposited By: H. Upload account
Deposited On:21 Jan 2010 13:10
Last Modified:15 Nov 2016 18:56

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