Educational needs of health professionals working in rheumatology in Europe
Objective: To explore the availability of postgraduate
education for health professionals (HPs) working in
rheumatology in Europe, and their perceived
educational needs and barriers for participation in
current educational offerings.
Methods: Structured interviews were conducted with
national representatives of rheumatology HPs’
organisations and an online survey among individual
HPs was disseminated through existing European
League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) networks (10
languages including English). These comprised
questions on: availability of postgraduate education,
familiarity with EULAR and its educational offerings,
unmet needs regarding the contents and mode of
delivery and potential barriers to participate in
education (0–10 scales).
Results: According to 17 national representatives,
postgraduate rheumatology education was most
common for nurses, physical and occupational
therapists. There were 1041 individuals responding to
the survey, of whom 48% completed all questions.
More than half (56%) were familiar with EULAR as an
organisation, whereas <25% had attended the EULAR
congress or were familiar with EULAR online courses.
Educational needs regarding contents were highest for
‘inflammatory arthritis’ and ‘connective tissue diseases’
and regarding modes of delivery for ‘courses organised
in own country’ and ‘online courses’. Important barriers
to participation included lack of ‘resources’, ‘time’ and
‘English language skills’. Overall, there was considerable
variation in needs and barriers among countries.
Conclusions: There is a lack of postgraduate
rheumatology education for HPs in most countries. There
are opportunities to raise awareness regarding EULAR
educational offerings and to develop courses provided in
HPs’ own country, tailored to national needs and barriers
and taking language barriers into consideration.