Other multidisciplinary educational offerings include the online NP/PA Postgraduate Rheumatology Training Program and the Advanced Practice Skills Training Course offered in conjunction with the ACR State-of-the-Art Clinical Symposia. Created by a physician and health-professional team of editors, presenters, and reviewers, both activities were developed in direct response to the ACR Workforce Study, which displayed an urgent call for practice redesign as a way to improve patient care. Both offerings are are intense training activities designed to accelerate the training process of rheumatology nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The availability of these activities helps physicians to overcome hesitancies regarding the integration of interdisciplinary teams, based on concerns that they do not have the time required to provide on-the-job training to nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
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Explore This IssueMarch 2010
The NP/PA program features 19 online modules that address the training needs of NPs, PAs, fellows-in-training, and other clinicians. Since its release in December 2008, the training program has enrolled 179 NPs and PAs; 50 have graduated. The Advanced Practice Skills Training Course provides participants hands-on training in performing proper examinations for musculoskeletal abnormalities, joint tenderness, and swelling, as well as instruction on how to use scoring tools such as the Health Assessment Questionnaire and Disease Activity Score for 28 Joints. Additionally, the course offers hands-on training for joint aspiration and injection. This course has been offered twice and registration has reached capacity both times.
Going forward, the ACR and the ARHP will be working together to revise both programs and to develop new online education for nurses new to rheumatology practice. The proposed nursing program would provide an overview of all rheumatic diseases, assessment of patients, treatment of patients, infusion of patients, and insurance preauthorization. By working together in multidisciplinary teams, the ACR and the ARHP are creating online education for the current and future rheumatology workforce.
With its diverse membership, the ACR encapsulates the spirit of a multidisciplinary care team, bringing rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals together and fostering interaction, collaboration, creativity, and sharing. As a result, the ACR, the rheumatology specialty, and patients with rheumatic diseases all benefit.