Background Education and training related to rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases are one of the key strategic areas of EULAR. To better understand the educational needs of young clinicians and/or researchers in rheumatology, the Emerging EULAR Network (EMEUNET) and the EULAR Standing Committee on Education and Training (ESCET) developed an educational survey.
Methods Students, clinicians and/or researchers below the age of 40 who work in the field of rheumatology were invited to participate in an online-based survey. Invitations were sent to 763 EMEUNET members and young individuals of national organizations. The current abstract presents an interim analysis.
Results 458 participants completed the survey. The majority of participants were between 31 and 35 years old (43%), female (66%) and from Europe (91%). Spain (18%), but also the UK, Czech Republic and Portugal (all around 8%) were very well represented. Most participants were trainees in rheumatology (46%) or served as junior faculty (33%). Participants spent a mean of 59% of their time in clinical work and 26% in research, but little in educational and administrative work. While participants mainly performed clinical and/or epidemiological research (63%), scientific foci as defined by ARD key-words varied greatly. Asked for career plans, around 78% of participants intended to work in academia or hospital settings with a lower interest in industry or private practice.
A central goal of the survey was to assess the awareness and acceptance of existing EULAR educational opportunities. While 78% of participants were familiar with the role of EMEUNET, relatively little was known about ESCET. Of note, the current EULAR educational portfolio covered well the needs of more than 70% of participants. The various EULAR online courses and the EULAR postgraduate course received the highest ratings considering past participations or current interest. In detail, 28% and 12% of responders had already participated in the EULAR online course on rheumatic diseases and in the EULAR postgraduate course, respectively. Limited funding, either through personal means (58%) or through the home institution (45%), was considered the major obstacle to participate in existing programs.
The second major objective of the survey was to determine the educational needs and preferences of young clinicians and researchers in the field. Clinically, more than 90% of participants were interested in receiving training in imaging techniques as well as in general disease review courses. Regarding scientific training, more than 80% of participants were interested in acquiring statistics, presentation, writing and/or reviewing skills. Participants gave very diverse answers regarding preferred learning modalities: most individuals favored live courses or online learning tools over textbooks and lectures as well as case-oriented over systematic learning.
Conclusions The EMEUNET/ESCET educational survey was very well-received among young individuals in the field or rheumatology with excellent participation. While the current EULAR educational portfolio is well appreciated, lack of funding may limit the access to it. This new data will help EULAR to adapt their educational portfolio to the needs of young clinicians and researchers.
Disclosure of Interest None declared