Nurse and Allied Health Professional internship programme

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Professor Catherine Bowen

Organisation - University of Southampton

Type of grant - Education Strategic Award

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £175,000

Start date - 1 October 2018

Reference - 22082

What are the aims of this research? 

The aim of this project is to continue to develop a network of rheumatology internships for health-care professionals in the UK. The interns will be supported by leading health care professionals and be based in universities that have developed outstanding clinical rheumatology research teams. These internships could help provide foundations for developing health profession-als into a research workforce in rheumatology, allowing them to contribute to clinical research, and improve clinical practise for people living with musculoskeletal disease.

Why is this research important? 

A number of nurses and health professionals have developed specialist research areas in rheuma-tology. It is important that this work is passed on to the next generation of nurses and healthcare professionals as musculoskeletal disease is set to become a large medical burden. Patient care can be improved by supporting healthcare professionals early in their careers within schemes such as internships. The proposed internship programme will select 24 nurses and allied health profession-als who have recently qualified (within five years). The interns will complete an eight-week clinical research placement, followed by ongoing mentoring and support for two years.

This work builds on two previous internship programmes which proved successful in identifying exceptional, motivated and most able health care professionals just after they qualify, to consider musculoskeletal rheumatology as a career path. Previous interns’ projects have provided evidence that has contributed to improved patient care, reducing the impact of musculoskeletal conditions.

How will the findings benefit patients? 

By learning from research teams and establishing their own research skills at an early stage of their clinical careers, nurses and allied health professionals can help to improve patient care, and improve quality of life for people living with arthritis.