“The management of chronic disease is well suited to the skills and training of the nurse practitioner or physician assistant,” adds Dr. Hooker. Kerr agrees. “You can have a long-term relationship with the patient and really see that what you are offering is making a difference,” she says. “Getting the disease to go into remission is a very rewarding experience for the NP or PA.”
Explore This IssueOctober 2008
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Dr. Belza notes that the NP/PA program has several novel components. Each of the learning modules starts with a pretest or a pre-assessment of the person’s own knowledge about rheumatology. “We use case studies in this component with experts in the field responding to the challenges presented in the case,” she explains. The clinician taking the program then listens to the central portion of the program—an audio-annotated presentation of PowerPoint slides on the topic of that module. There are 18 hours of annotated lectures and more than 2,800 slides that made up the 19 modules. Each of the annotations varies in length from 30 to 120 minutes.
Clinical tip sheets are referred to as “pearls” and can be printed out for clinical or practice setting use. The course also includes current references and a post-test to test knowledge learned in each module. The individual has three chances to complete each registered module posttest with a 70% score or greater, which is necessary to successfully complete the module and receive a certificate of completion for their registered module track. “The individual can spend as much time as they prefer on a given module and can complete each module in increments of time based on their personal schedule,” adds Dr. Belza.
“I think many of my fellow NPs and PAs will find a career in rheumatology as rewarding and exciting,” says Kerr. “It also allows us the opportunity to do clinical research,” she adds.
“Rheumatology is a great opportunity for the nurse practitioner,” says Tiffany Fotinos, RN, FNP-C, the NP who works with Dr. Caldron. “I like the diversity of being able to do patient care and research.”
For more information on the training program go to http://rheumatology.org/arhp.
Terry Hartnett is a frequent contributor to The Rheumatologist.