A first-in-country rheumatology nursing training program in Cyprus was met with enthusiasm from the 27 participants, all of whom expressed interest in working in the specialty, according to results presented at the EULAR Annual Congress.
“We are determined to challenge the government in Cyprus to implement a rheumatology nurse service into the health system,” Androulla Phoka Charalambous, of the Cyprus League Against Rheumatism, said in a press release. She wrote that while rheumatology nurse practitioner programs are proliferating in other parts of the world, it was not happening in Cyprus.
After the Ministry of Health initially denied authorization to introduce specialized rheumatology nurses due to an apparent lack of interest in rheumatology education, Charalambous and colleagues aimed to highlight the need for nurses in rheumatology to government nursing services, and then to persuade the Ministry to organize the program. Charalambous added that members of her group would help develop the structure and themes of the program.
The first rheumatology nursing training program in Cyprus was met with enthusiasm from participants, according to findings.
The training program — consisting of lectures, workshops and patient awareness components — was conducted once a week for 3 months in 2018, with the 27 nurse participants joining for 3 days of clinical exercises in an outpatient rheumatology clinic and one day working with the delivery of biologics and biosimilars.
Following the training, participants were surveyed regarding their interest in working as a rheumatology nurse in a rheumatology clinic; Charalambous noted that 100% of the 27 participants reported they would be interested in this career.
“We’re proud to have achieved a significant step towards our goal with the successful implementation of the first rheumatology nurse educational program in Cyprus,” Charalambous said.
In a study underscoring the importance of nurses in the specialty, Catherine Beauvais, MD, of Hospital Saint Antoine in Paris, and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled trial to examine the utility of a nurse-led intervention program instructing patients on safety issues surrounding subcutaneous DMARD therapies.
“Safety is an important issue in the management of inflammatory arthritis treated with biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs,” Beauvais said in a press release.
The study involved 128 patients with various rheumatic conditions from nine rheumatology departments.
The intervention included face-to-face instruction with a nurse at baseline, 3 months and 6 months. The mean duration of each nurse-patient interaction was 65.5 minutes at baseline, and 43.7 at 3 months.
The researchers used the Biosecure questionnaire to assess patient safety skills, self-injections and motivation.
Six-month results indicated that patients who underwent the nurse-led intervention had higher Biosecure scores than patients assigned usual care, 81.2 vs. 75.6 (P = .016).
Other outcomes showed that patients in the intervention arm demonstrated an improved capacity to deal with the challenges presented by their arthritis.
“We hope our results provide evidence to support the implementation of nurse-led patient education programs in centers across Europe.” – by Rob Volansky
Beauvais C, et al. SAT0679.
Charalambous AP. OP0289-PARE.
Presented at: EULAR Annual Congress; June 12-15, 2019; Madrid.
Disclosure: Beauvais and Charalambous report no relevant financial disclosures.