The harmonization of rheumatology specialist training in Europe is deemed essential to support the current freedom of movement of rheumatologists and to guarantee standards of care for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and to support the current freedom of movement of rheumatologists. However, so far no formal assessment of the standards of training across Europe has been undertaken.
The aim of this ongoing EULAR project is to analyse similarities and discrepancies in rheumatology training across Europe.
The project has 2 phases. In phase 1 data is extracted from the official national curricula for rheumatology specialty training; phase 2 will include a questionnaire targeting young rheumatologists and trainees in order to gather further insight into the country’s reality in rheumatology specialty training. All 45 EULAR-member countries were invited to participate. A principal investigator and a second data extractor from every country independently performed data extraction from the national curricula into a standardized form. Discrepancies were discussed until a consensus could be reached.
Results of the interim analysis of Phase 1 are presented. From the 45 invited countries, 4 countries (Cyprus, Iceland, Montenegro and San Marino) provide no specialty training in rheumatology, for 15 countries data collection is still ongoing; therefore results are presented for 26 countries. All countries had an approved national curriculum, and in 6 countries (23%) training was additionally regulated by local training centres’ curricula. The mean length of the rheumatology training program was 51 (SD 18) months, being <48 months in 7 countries (27%), 48-59 months in 6 countries (23%), 60-71 months in 8 countries and ≥72 months in 5 countries (19%). Training in internal medicine was performed only within rheumatology training program (n=9, 35%), only prior to it (n=8, 31%) or in both time periods (n=8, 31%) and one country did not require training in internal medicine. Total length of training in internal medicine (prior and during rheumatology training program) was 33.9 (SD 17.8) months, being <24 months in 10 countries (38%), 25-36 months in 8 countries (31%) and >36 months in 7 countries (27%). The curricula of 21 countries (81%) mentioned at least one of the 15 non-clinical competences inquired (e.g. professional behavior, team-working, ethics). Most of the countries included the mandatory acquisition of skills such as joint aspiration (n=24), soft tissue injections (n=21) or identification of synovial fluid crystals (n=22) and musculoskeletal ultrasound was mandatory in 15 countries.
With these preliminary results, marked differences in training in rheumatology across Europe were identified. With this project, we will achieve a clear view of the discrepancies in official curricula for rheumatology and the differences in the daily training experience and assessment of competencies during the training in rheumatology across EULAR countries.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared