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2019 EULAR recommendations for the generic core competences of health professionals in rheumatology
  1. Lisa Edelaar1,2,
  2. Elena Nikiphorou3,
  3. George E Fragoulis4,
  4. Annamaria Iagnocco5,
  5. Catherine Haines6,7,
  6. Margot Bakkers8,
  7. Lurdes Barbosa9,
  8. Nada Cikes10,
  9. Mwidimi Ndosi11,
  10. Jette Primdahl12,13,
  11. Yeliz Prior14,15,
  12. Polina Pchelnikova8,
  13. Valentin Ritschl16,17,
  14. Valentin Sebastian Schäfer18,
  15. Hana Smucrova19,
  16. Inger Storrønning20,
  17. Marco Testa21,
  18. Dieter Wiek8,
  19. Theodora P M Vliet Vlieland1
  1. 1 Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, J11, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Amsterdam Rehabilitation Research Center, Reade, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Inflammation Biology, King's College London, London, UK
  4. 4 Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow School of Medicine, Glasgow, UK
  5. 5 Scienze Cliniche e Biologiche, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy
  6. 6 EULAR, Zurich, Switzerland
  7. 7 Clinical Education, King's College London, London, UK
  8. 8 Standing Committee of People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe (PARE), EULAR, Zurich, Switzerland
  9. 9 Rheumatology, Hospital Garcia de Orta, Almada, Portugal
  10. 10 Divsion of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
  11. 11 Nursery and Midwifery, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, UK
  12. 12 Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  13. 13 Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Graasten, Denmark
  14. 14 Regional Health Research, University of Salford, Salford, UK
  15. 15 Rheumatology Outpatients, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Crewe, UK
  16. 16 Section for Outcomes Research, Centre for Medical Statistics, Informatics, and Intelligent Systems, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  17. 17 Occupational Therapy, University of Applied Sciences FH Campus Wien, Wien, Austria
  18. 18 III. Medical Clinic, Dept of Oncology, Hematology and Rheumatology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  19. 19 Center of Medical Rehabilitation, Institute of Rheumatology, Praha, Czech Republic
  20. 20 Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  21. 21 Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Theodora P M Vliet Vlieland, Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, J11, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden 2333 ZA, The Netherlands; T.P.M.Vliet_Vlieland{at}


Background/objectives To maintain and optimise the quality of care provided by health professionals in rheumatology (HPRs), adequate educational offerings are needed. This task force (TF) aimed to develop evidence-based recommendations for the generic core competences of HPRs, with specific reference to nurses, physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) to serve as a basis for their postgraduate education.

Methods The EULAR standardised operating procedures for the development of recommendations were followed. A TF including rheumatologists, nurses, PTs, OTs, patient-representatives, an educationalist, methodologists and researchers from 12 countries met twice. In the first TF meeting, 13 research questions were defined to support a systematic literature review (SLR). In the second meeting, the SLR evidence was discussed and recommendations formulated. Subsequently, level of evidence and strength of recommendation were assigned and level of agreement (LoA) determined (0–10 rating scale).

Results Three overarching principles were identified and 10 recommendations were developed for the generic core competences of HPRs. The SLR included 79 full-text papers, 20 of which addressed the competences, knowledge, skills, attitudes and/or educational needs of HPRs from multiple professions. The average LoA for each recommendation ranged from 9.42 to 9.79. Consensus was reached both on a research and educational agenda.

Conclusion Evidence and expert opinion informed a set of recommendations providing guidance on the generic core competences of HPRs. Implementation of these recommendations in the postgraduate education of HPRs at the international and national level is advised, considering variation in healthcare systems and professional roles.

  • competences
  • educational needs
  • recommendations
  • health professionals
  • rheumatology
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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors All authors have actively contributed to the work and meet the criteria for authorship.

  • Funding The task force would like to thank EULAR for financial support of this work.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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