Rheumatology nurse specialist
A rheumatology nurse specialist is a trained nurse who has specialist experience in looking after your physical, emotional and social needs. Rheumatology nurse specialists are sometimes called clinical nurse specialists, rheumatology nurse practitioners or liaison rheumatology nurses. Rheumatology nurse specialists work with people with all kinds of arthritis-related conditions. Some rheumatology nurse specialists are able to diagnose, recommend treatments and prescribe medication.
How can I be referred to a rheumatology nurse specialist?
People with arthritis are often referred to a rheumatology nurse specialist when a diagnosis has been made by their consultant rheumatologist and their treatment has been agreed. Some rheumatology departments also offer an open system, where patients can request to see the rheumatology nurse specialist independently (usually if there’s a problem between appointments).
How can a rheumatology nurse specialist help me?
Helping you learn about your condition
A detailed explanation about what your diagnosis means can reduce any anxiety and fear you may be feeling. The rheumatology nurse specialist will listen to your concerns and provide information and support during periods of change. They’ll explain your symptoms and will work with you to reduce their impact.
Helping you learn about drug treatments and monitoring your needs
The rheumatology nurse specialist will provide you with information before you start any drug treatments so that you’re fully involved in your treatment. If you’re on drugs for arthritis you’ll need regular ‘monitoring’ blood tests, and for some you’ll need regular blood pressure and urine tests. They will also arrange for your drug treatment to be monitored in a hospital clinic or at your GP’s surgery.
Offering telephone support
In most rheumatology departments, rheumatology nurse specialists run a telephone advice line to provide you with easy access to a nurse who knows about you, your condition and your treatment. This is a handy way for you to contact the nurse if you need advice and support on managing your symptoms or if you have any concerns about your condition or your treatment.
Providing emotional support
The rheumatology nurse specialist can provide expert help and support to improve your mood and discuss how to minimise the emotional impact of the condition both at home and in the workplace.