Background Musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) has become the first choice imaging investigation for the evaluation of musculoskeletal diseases. MSUS has traditionally been a task for medical doctors (MD). Over the last 10 years there have been an increasing number of extended roles for nurses in rheumatology care. From being a traditional care provider, the rheumatology nurses in Norway have become more independent and have taken on new roles in monitoring patients. The traditional joint count has become a standard assessment performed by nurses as they have taken on new roles. To enhance the role of the rheumatology nurse they are now trained to perform MSUS by a newly developed training program. There is no European certification to perform MSUS in rheumatology today; but there are different courses available. It is recommended by the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB), that consideration is to be given to the setting up of suitable training programmes in order to ensure that ultrasound operators are properly trained for the job.
Objectives To develop a training program for nurses in MSUS.
Methods The training program is developed using the recommendations for the content and conduct of EULAR musculoskeletal ultrasound courses. Eight rheumatology nurses with experience in individual nursing consultations were included in the training program. The training program was drawn up in collaboration with the Rheumatology Department at St. Olavs Hospital and the Radiographic Institute at the Sør-Trøndelag University College. The complete program includes:
– University course of 15 ECTS including theoretical, technical and practical education with expert supervisors, extensive training at a rheumatology department of 18 days with expert supervisors
– EULAR basic MSUS course
– The British Society of Rheumatology basic ultrasound course
– Visits to other expert centres on MSUS in Europe.
– During the implementation of MSUS in individual nursing consultations an expert supervisor was available for questions and expert opinion.
Conclusions A formal education in collaboration with a clinical department and a university college seems to be of high theoretical and practical relevance for nurses to obtain appropriate education and skills in MSUS. MSUS performed by trained nurses seems to be of high quality. Seven of the eight nurses are using MSUS to monitor and assess disease activity in their clinical setting today.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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