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Rheumatoid arthritis – a clinical update for practice nurses

Dr Gerry Morrow

Editor, Clinical Knowledge Summaries; Medical & Product Director (Primary Care) Agilio Software. March 2022


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease. RA presents as inflammatory arthritis typically affecting the small joints of the hands and the feet, usually both sides equally and symmetrically, although any synovial joint can be affected. As RA progresses, any system of the body may be affected by the underlying inflammatory process.


On completion of this module, you should be better able to:

  • Describe the key features and complications of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Recognise the clinical features of RA and differential diagnoses
  • Understand the importance of appropriate referral
  • Be familiar with the principles of ongoing monitoring and the management of ‘flares’

This resource is provided at an intermediate level. Read the article and answer the self-assessment questions, and reflect on what you have learned.

Complete the resource to obtain a certificate to include in your revalidation portfolio. You should record the time spent on this resource in your CPD log.


Non-adherence to therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: overcoming the problems. Tracy French, RGN, Dip HE,MSc. Rheumatology Nurse Specialist. Practice Nurse 2022;52(3):24-29