When Jeanne Scott first entered nursing school, she planned to become a women’s health nurse practitioner. She was not expecting her final clinical placement in rheumatology to change the entire course of her career.
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Explore This IssueJuly 2018
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“Truthfully, I did not understand what rheumatology practitioners did until this introduction to the field,” says Ms. Scott, who describes being quite taken early on by the fact that rheumatology requires practitioners to be fluent across multiple specialties because of the nature of autoimmune diseases.
Now a board-certified adult geriatric primary care nurse practitioner, Ms. Scott was afforded the chance to learn and observe alongside rheumatology fellows, something that had not happened during her other rotations. “This presented an excellent opportunity for me to experience training from a different angle due to it being a completely different model than nursing,” she explains. “I was immediately intrigued by the methodology, diagnoses and treatments.”
Entrée to Rheumatology
Ms. Scott joined the ARHP while she was still a master’s student at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston. Membership allowed her to network quickly and meet other nurse practitioners in the field. “I was even lucky enough to be invited to the practice of an ARHP nurse practitioner to see how she functioned in an outpatient setting,” Ms. Scott says, noting the experience solidified her resolve to remain in rheumatology.
After graduation, the Massachusetts native moved to Rhode Island to begin work in a private practice setting (ultimately, the practice was absorbed into a larger hospital system). She describes being totally immersed in rheumatologic care, seeing patients full time and spending her nights and weekends studying “the different concepts, guidelines and treatment modalities within the field.” The ACR website served as a “significant resource” for her during this phase of her career.
“I treated that time like my own, personal fellowship,” Ms. Scott says. “It did not matter how busy my mentoring doctor became or how hectic the schedule proved to be during the day; I was always given the time I needed to grow and ask questions. The environment really allowed me to both test and push my limits.”
‘The ARHP has been a significant resource for me in my professional life, as well as a place where I have made many long-lasting friendships.’ —Ms. Scott
Later, Ms. Scott got involved in a newly formed task force within the ARHP charged with creating a curriculum for nurse practitioners and physician assistants entering, or interested in entering, rheumatology. One of the goals of the curriculum is to help talented professionals successfully transition into the field, Ms. Scott says.