Table 2

Overarching principles of the EULAR recommendations for the generic core competences of health professionals in rheumatology (HPRs)

Overarching principle 1:
Effective communication skills and a biopsychosocial approach in the assessment, treatment and care of people with RMDs are of paramount importance for HPRs
HPRs should be able to understand the interplay between RMDs and various personal and environmental factors, in the context of the biopsychosocial model.3 4 13 16 20 21 The literature underpins the general principle that understanding and applying the principles of the biopsychosocial model is considered mandatory for the employment of a holistic approach.4 13 Two studies reported that a basic understanding of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health could serve this purpose.16 21 Another key element concerns communication, not only for effective interaction with patients but also with other healthcare providers, their organisations or other stakeholders3 4 13
Overarching principle 2:
Person-centred care and patient advocacy are fundamental in the care delivered by HPRs for people with RMDs
HPRs should respect individuality and take into account how background, experiences and values might affect patients’ perceptions about their condition and its impact on their lives.3 4 It should in particular be noted that the experience and expertise of persons with an RMD about how to manage their disease, especially those who have a diagnosis for a long time, should not be disregarded.3 13 Advocacy not only concerns serving as an advocate for individual patients, but for groups or populations of people with RMDs as well by working in partnerships with teams, communities and organisations4
Overarching principle 3:
An evidence-based approach, ethical conduct and reflective practice are essential for HPRs
Captured in the framework of a national health-system for the core capabilities of professionals working with people with RMDs3 the care provided by HPRs should adhere to the evidence-based data for best practice and outcome.23 HPRs are expected to provide standardised care in accordance with national and International regulations, professional codes and employer protocols.3 16 18 The literature also suggests that HPRs should act towards development, organisation and advocacy of their group.1 9 16 To monitor and improve the quality of care delivered, appropriate assessment of the services provided is needed.3 9 To that end, HPRs should be familiar with the principles of reflecting on their practice.3 Apart from an evidence-based approach and reflective practice, acting in an ethical manner is appraised as one of the cornerstones in HPRs’ work3 16
  • RMDs, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.