Core Curriculum to Facilitate the Expansion of a Rheumatology Practice to Include Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Benjamin J. Smith*, Marcy B. Bolster, Barbara Slusher, Christine Stamatos, Jeanne R. Scott, Heather Benham, Salahuddin Kazi, Elizabeth A. Schlenk, Daniel E. Schaffer, Vikas Majithia, Calvin R. Brown, Joan M. Von Feldt, Joseph Flood, David M. Haag, Karen L. Smarr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: Due to an aging population, increasing prevalence of rheumatic disease, and a growing supply and demand gap of rheumatology providers, innovative solutions are needed to meet the needs of persons with rheumatic conditions. Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) have been identified as a group of health professionals who could help address the workforce shortage. The Executive Committee of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), charged a task force to facilitate the preparation of NPs/PAs to work in a rheumatology practice setting. Methods: The task force, consisting of private practice and academic rheumatologists, and NPs and PAs, from both adult and pediatric settings, conducted a needs assessment survey of current NPs and PAs to identify mechanisms for acquiring rheumatology knowledge. Through face-to-face and webinar meetings, and incorporating stakeholder feedback, the task force designed a rheumatology curriculum outline to enrich the training of new NPs and PAs joining rheumatology practice. Results: Informed by the needs assessment data and stakeholders, an NP/PA rheumatology curriculum outline was developed and endorsed by the ACR Board of Directors for use by community-based and academic rheumatology practices, whether pediatric or adult, who desire to add NPs and PAs to their practice setting. Conclusion: As rheumatology is facing workforce shortages, the ACR/ARHP rheumatology curriculum outline can be utilized to train NPs and PAs and create more efficient integration of NPs and PAs into rheumatology practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-678
Number of pages7
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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