Evaluating a competency framework for rheumatology nurses
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Evaluating a competency framework for rheumatology nurses

Diana Finney Consultant rheumatology nurse, rheumatology, Sussex MSK Partnership, Brighton, England
Patricia Cornell Nurse consultant, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth, England
Lisa Howie Advanced nurse practitioner, spinal department, Morriston Hospital, Swansea Bay University Health Board, Swansea, Wales
Louise Parker Professional lead, long-term conditions, Nursing Department, Royal College of Nursing, London, England
Ruth Wyllie Lead nurse paediatric rheumatology, Great North Children’s Hospital, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Polly Livermore National Institute for Health and Care Research advanced clinical academic nursing fellow, rheumatology senior nurse, rheumatology department, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the importance of developing specific competencies for specialist roles

  • To learn about rheumatology nurse specialists’ views and experiences of a competency framework

  • To consider the potential benefits and areas for improvement in competency frameworks for nurses

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) competency framework for rheumatology nurses was developed in 2020. As part of the framework proposal, a service evaluation was planned following the framework’s roll-out to determine its usefulness and acceptability. The aim of this evaluation was to explore rheumatology nurse specialists’ answers to the research question: ‘What was your experience of using the RCN’s rheumatology competency framework?’ A total of 14 rheumatology nurse specialists were interviewed and shared their opinions regarding the competency framework. Five themes were identified: personal usage; benefits to managers; inequalities and inequity in nursing; ideas for improvement; and general properties. The findings of this evaluation demonstrated the value of the framework, which enabled rheumatology nurse specialists to document the competency level they were working at and to identify their future training needs.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12111

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software




Conflict of interest

Polly Livermore is partially funded by the Great Ormond Street Hospital National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre and holds a personal post-doctoral fellowship with the NIHR

Finney D, Cornell P, Howie L et al (2024) Evaluating a competency framework for rheumatology nurses. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12111


The authors would like to thank the competency working group, external reviewers and the Royal College of Nursing for supporting this article

Published online: 22 January 2024

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