Key Facts

Course Title: Rheumatology Nursing (entry alternate years)
Course type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
Mode of Study:Part Time
Contact Details:Kathryn Jones
Contact email:Kathryn.Jones@uhns.nhs.uk
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Subject Area: Nursing

Overview

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.

This exciting and contemporary programme places clinical advancement within a theoretical framework, with the objectives of enhancing professional capabilities, individual development, and influencing rheumatology care provision. The programme promotes concepts of professionalism, reflective learning and evidence based practice in the field of rheumatology.

This programme will enable you as an experienced clinical nurse or allied health professionals to manage the on-going care of people with rheumatoid arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. The programme will develop your clinical knowledge and skills in musculoskeletal examination, psychological and social aspects of care, drug therapy, clinical leadership and enable you to challenge existing practice and engage in research to develop the discipline of rheumatology practice.

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 rheumatoid disorders. It will lead students to evaluate their current role and adopt evidence-based practice.

Aims of the Course

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, psychosocial 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 course’s 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 rheumatological 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
  • Attend an interview

Course Content

The main academic venue for this course will be the Staffordshire Rheumatology Centre at the Haywood Hospital in Stoke. Courses will be taught through a mixture of lectures, interactive tutorials, problem-based learning, workshops, formal presentations and guided study. 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.

Modules

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

Year 1

Module 1: An Introduction to Clinical Effectiveness in Rheumatology Nursing Structure: One 5-day block

1 day (Presentations)

Credit value: 15

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 had few opportunities to explore the evidence base underlying their discipline. This module seeks to address this gap and to provide the student with an understanding of how to appraise clinical evidence. This module will form an essential foundation for the rest of the course. Students will develop skills in literature reviews, in understanding statistical principles and will gain a practical insight into the research process.

Module 2: Physical Assessment in Rheumatology Nursing

Structure: One 3-day block plus one 2-day block

1 day (OSCE)

Credit value: 15

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. It will also provide students with the ability to develop management plans based on the clinical findings.

Module 3: Drug Therapy in Rheumatological Practice

Structure: Three blocks of 3 days

Credit value: 30

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 antirheumatic drugs.

Year 2

Module 4: Psychological and Social Aspects of Care in Rheumatological Practice

Structure: One 5-day block (4 days at Stoke plus 1-day private study at home)

Credit value: 15

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 psychological well-being e.g. social support. The intention of the module is to enable the student to incorporate theoretical understanding into clinical application.

Module 5: Clinical Leadership

Structure: One 4 day-block (3-days at Stoke plus 1-day private study at home)

Credit value: 15

Many rheumatology nurses working at an advanced clinical level will be acting as role models, supporting junior colleagues. This module will explore the evidence base that promotes effective clinical leadership whilst developing the student’s knowledge and skills to lead a clinical team.

The student can choose from one of the two optional modules (6A or 6B). Modules will only run if there are sufficient student numbers.

Module 6A: Physical Assessment (Optional Module)

Structure: One 3-day block plus one 2-day block

1 day (OSCE)

Credit value: 15

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 spine, pelvis and feet complexes in patients with rheumatological disorders. It will also provide students with the ability to develop management plans based on the clinical findings.

Module 6B: Principles and Practice of Joint and Soft Tissue Injection (Optional Module)

Structure: 5 days (over two blocks)

Credit value: 15

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of the use of injections in the management of joint and soft tissue pathology and to develop professional responsibility towards injection practice. It will provide the student with the knowledge and skills required to administer IA injections.

Module 7: Research Outcomes in Arthritis and Outcomes in R.N.

Structure: One 5-day block

Credit value: 15

This module will enable the student to examine the processes involved in designing a research proposal and provide the opportunity to examine outcome measures and their relevance to clinical practice.

Year 3

Masters Option: Dissertation

Credit value: 60

15,000-word research project dissertation (60 credits).

The student will be asked to  identify a supervisor locally.

The course will provide several plenary content days at which students will present and discuss their work, the opportunity for one-to-one contact with course tutors (face-to-face, by phone or email) and advice on written work.

 

Teaching and Assessment

The MSc Rheumatology Nursing/Practice is delivered as a part-time mode of study and you can choose whether you want to progress through the Postgraduate Diploma to the MSc over a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years. The modules can also be undertaken on an individual basis if you are looking to develop you knowledge and skills in specific clinical areas such as drug therapy or physical examination.

As we attract both national and international students the programme runs over a number of short intensive blocks, each lasting 2-5 days. This pattern of learning is compatible with maintaining a busy clinical role. The course has been endorsed by the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate programme.