The ARP’s revised Fundamentals of Rheumatology Course (FRC) will soon be released on the ACR website. The course was revamped by interdisciplinary rheumatology professionals emphasizing an inter-professional approach to patient care. It is intended to reach a broad audience, including nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists and social workers to name a few. However, the FRC is not designed to meet the needs of prescribing professionals, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, who are better served by the Advanced Rheumatology Course.
This tool was designed to assure physicians their staff have ascertained the knowledge necessary to deliver high-quality patient care in the rheumatology clinic.
A New Presentation
The educational content has been redesigned to be more dynamic, interactive and engaging for adult learners. This is not the familiar PowerPoint presentation with voice-over. Authors of the activities used a software approach, combined with storyboards, to craft action-based learning activities to give learners tools and information that can be put into practice immediately.
In revising the FRC, some previous activities were combined to make room for new content areas addressing pain management, psychosocial impacts, rehabilitation techniques and self-management support. Content was also refined to meet three key criteria: 1) Is it fundamental information—something every person working in rheumatology should know? 2) Is it applicable to multiple professions? 3) Is it actionable information—knowledge learners can put into practice as soon as they complete the activity?
- Discover the Basics: Immunology, Autoimmunity and Inflammation
- Address Systemic Inflammatory Diseases in Children and Adults
- Differentiate Non-Inflammatory Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Soft Tissue Disorders
- Assess Your Patient with Rheumatic Disease
- Reduce Negative Psychosocial Impact to Enhance Patient Outcomes
- Counsel Your Patient on Rheumatology Medications
- Help Your Patient ManageTheir Pain
- Use Rehabilitation to Improve Your Patient’s Function, Fatigue and Pain
- Stimulate and Support Your Patient’s Self-Management
- Optimize Care for Your Pediatric Patient
All activities are formulated with evidence-based content and are peer reviewed by two rheumatology professional content experts prior to programming into the online educational platform, enabling responsiveness to reviewers’ recommendations. Reviewers are charged with ensuring that content is accurate, up to date and complete (nothing major missing).
One peer reviewer had this to say:
I have great respect for the ARP and the developers of this material for the learning activity. It includes what I consider to be the basics of working in pediatric rheumatology: growth and development, family-centered care, cultural and socioeconomic considerations, psychological and physiologic considerations, insurance and prior authorization information, civil rights education legislation, and transition to adult-care issues. And it was done so in a manner that was easy to read and to understand.
I’ll be honest, I was not very familiar with care mapping, but after I read the content and references … I definitely plan to include this in my practice from now on. …
Overall, this is a really well done program. The references are current and reflect current practice. The resources are great—easy to print and have available in your practice. Many were similar to what we use in our clinic, which I consider to be essential.
The FRC activities are responsive in design. No matter what size screen you’re viewing the course on, the text, images, navigation and graphics size fluidly.
Users can download the mp3 activity onto their device and use it as they wish. You don’t need internet access after the download to view the materials. Note: To obtain continuing medical education credit prior to the expiration date, internet access is required to complete the quiz and assessment.
Funding for the entire cost of the FRC may be available by applying for the Health Professional Online Education Grant, offered through the Rheumatology Research Foundation.
In sum, the revised FRC is designed to be truly fundamental, dynamic, engaging and, most importantly, practical. Remember, it is focused on actions that can be put into practice immediately.