Background The contribution of nurses to rheumatology care is increasingly recognised. Therefore, international efforts have been made to emphasise and optimise the role of the nurse . However, evidence for the value of nursing interventions to outcomes is still limited, and discussions within countries about funding, legal regulations and the position of nurses is going on. Moreover, patients’ needs and expectations can offer valuable information for care improvement and should be taken into account whenever efforts for improvement are made.
Objectives The development of further evidence for rheumatology nursing care is needed and an international research agenda has been formulated . In the Netherlands, a task force from the Dutch Rheumatology Nurses Society aimed at defining priorities for a national research agenda, taking specific Dutch problems but also the international agenda into account. During the first meeting of the task force, patients’ needs and expectations were considered pivotal and should be the starting point of defining priorities. Therefore, it was decided to start with the assessment of patients’ opinions as a basis for the development of the national research agenda.
Methods Patients between 18-90 years with chronic inflammatory arthritis from three medical centres in different regions in the Netherlands were invited to participate in focus group interviews and asked about their expectations and needs with regard to rheumatology nursing care. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and independently analysed by the task force members. In a consensus meeting, the emerging subjects were categorised in themes. The transcriptions of the interviews were sent to the participants for validation and comments. In a fourth interview, in an other medical centre, the found themes were verified.
Results Twelve patients participated in the first three groups and eight in the fourth group, 15 females and 5 males in total. Eighteen patients had a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and two had ankylosing spondylitis. Mean age was 56.6 (SD 12.7) years and mean disease duration was 14.8 (SD 11.7) years.
The main themes revealed in the focus group interviews were the importance of education, information, support and counseling by nurses. Patients considered accessibility of nurses and nurses’ “personality”, e.g. nurses are easy to talk with, communicate in an understandable way and are empathic, important.
Conclusions The focus group interviews yielded valuable information. The found themes will support the development of a questionnaire to be used in a survey among a large group of patients with inflammatory arthritis in the Netherlands. The results of the survey will serve as basis for the patient-centred nursing research agenda, which can contribute to evidence-based nursing care and to improvement of quality of care.
van Eijk-Hustings Y, et al., EULAR recommendations for the role of the nurse in the management of chronic inflammatory arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis, 2012. 71 (13-19).
Disclosure of Interest None Declared