Dr Elizabeth Reilly, trainee representative, British Society for Rheumatology, interviews rheumatology trainees Dr Animesh Singh and Dr Sarah Hardcastle, and rheumatology consultant Dr Tim Jenkinson. They discuss training, working and enjoying this brilliant specialty.
Introduction to rheumatology
Rheumatology deals with the investigation, diagnosis and management of more than 200 rheumatic musculoskeletal disorders (RMDs) affecting joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues. These include inflammatory arthritis, multi-system autoimmune connective tissue disorders such as myositis, vasculitis and lupus, metabolic disorders of bone, soft tissue problems, and degenerative joint disease. It is a meld of whole system internal medicine covering diseases across many internal organ systems.
Professor Jane Dacre MD PRCP:
As a rheumatologist, I am delighted to introduce this month's specialty spotlight. I am proud to be in a specialty which has such wonderful diversity. Our patients are what make it so special. We have the privilege of working with people with a wide range of conditions, in severity, and in underlying diagnosis. It is a specialty where good clinical skills remain important, and the long-term relationship with our patients is paramount. At the same time, we also have access to groundbreaking research. Encouraging others to share this enthusiasm is a core attribute of rheumatologists, who, as a group, are renowned for their support to their trainees, and for education and training.
Working closely with primary care, other hospital specialties, and as part of a multidisciplinary team is critical for effective care in rheumatology. The rheumatologist plays a key role in coordinating care across multiple specialties for these patients. There are opportunities to lead in teaching, academia and hospital management, along with development of sub-speciality interests, such as sports and exercise medicine or paediatric services.
Training generally includes both general medicine and dedicated pure rheumatology time, over 5 years. Rheumatology departments are approachable and keen to involve junior doctors or medical students in audits, quality improvement projects or to join them for clinics to gain greater insight into the specialty.
Rheumatology is a fun, friendly and progressive specialty, with diverse and interesting conditions, a real multidisciplinary approach, and world-class research opportunities.
- For more information on the specialty, please visit the British Society for Rheumatology website.
- British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology.
- American College of Rheumatology.
- European League Against Rheumatism.
- Royal College of Physicians. Medical Care – rheumatology, developing physicians
- Royal College of Physicians. Diagnosis and management of giant cell arteritis. Concise guidance to good practice series. London: RCP, 2010
- Royal College of Physicians. Diagnosis and management of polymyalgia rheumatica. Concise guidance to good practice series. London: RCP, 2010
- Clinical Medicine articles:
- Marks M, Marks J. Viral arthritis. Clin Med 2016;16:129–34
- Carlin E, Flew S. Sexually acquired reactive arthritis. Clin Med 2016;16:193–6
- Tough D, Prinjha R, Tak P. Epigenetic mechanisms and drug discovery in rheumatology. Clin Med 2015;15:s64–s71
- Galloway J, Cope A. The ying and yang of fever in rheumatic disease. Clin Med 2015;15:288–91
- Harrison MJ, Lee S, Deighton C, Symmons PM. UK rheumatology consultant workforce provision 2007–9: results from the BSR/Arthritis Research UK Consultant Workforce Register. Clin Med 2011;11:119–24
- Gompels LL, Chinoy H, Devakumar V, Bax D, Mackworth-Young CG. Academic training in rheumatology in 2009: a UK trainee survey. Clin Med 2011;11:434–7
- Watson P, Gaffney K. Factors influencing recruitment to rheumatology (clinical and scientific letters). Clin Med 2011;11:509–10
- Scott DL. Career lifetime advances in rheumatology. Clin Med 2010;10:156–63
- Clinical Medicine CME rheumatology articles (2013)
- Roddy E, Doherty M. Treatment of hyperuricaemia and gout. Clin Med 2013;13:400–3
- Hunt L, Buch M. The ‘therapeutic window’ and treating to target in rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Med 2013;13:387–90
- Richardson S, Isaacs J. Novel immunotherapies for rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Med 2013;13:391–4
- Mackie S. Polymyalgia rheumatica: pathogenesis and management. Clin Med 2013;13:398–400
- Alhusain A, Bruce I. Cardiovascular risk and inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Clin Med 2013;13:395–7
Historical highlights from the library, archive and museum collection
This edition of the library, archive and museum blog explores the history of rheumatology and the Heberden Society, named after William Heberden (1710–1801), who is considered to be the father of rheumatology.