I’ve spent tonight working on a presentation I’m giving to 35 junior doctors undergoing postgraduate training to become General Practitioners (GPs).
There’s a bit of pressure involved.
I generally enjoy teaching but I’ve been given only 75 minutes to cover many aspects of rheumatology and arthritis. I’m not sure how many more talks they’ll get on rheumatology in their training but I’d wager that it won’t be many.
Rheumatology is a poor brand in Australia. Our association hasn’t really promoted itself or the many diseases we treat effectively and with compassion. At every opportunity I get to speak, I typically want to educate, but more than that, I want to excite interest and promote awareness. Awareness of my specialty and of the disease states we treat.
I’ve decided to skimp on heavy detail. I’ve decided to avoid talking about clinical trials. Instead, the perspective will be on what a GP can do to change the clinical outcome for the patient sitting in front of him or her.
My cook’s tour will begin with crystal arthritis & how GPs should logically approach an acutely swollen joint. I then want to preach about the window of opportunity with rheumatoid arthritis, and the need for early, aggressive treatment. The focus then moves to highlighting that treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis has been transformed in the last 8 years. I will probably end by teaching them about new ways to calculate the absolute risk of having a fracture in patients with low bone density, and how this may influence their decision to treat (or not to treat).
Only a few points will be emphasized for each topic. Key points discussed, then repeated, then consolidated once more.
The unifying theme: there is a much that can be done for patients with arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Much has changed in the last decade, with new therapies and an explosion of knowledge.
Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health.
BJC Health provides a connected care multidisciplinary team philosophy to deliver positive lifestyle outcomes through a holistic approach to those with degenerative & inflammatory arthritis, tendon injury and lifestyle diseases. Our clinics are located in Parramatta, Chatswood and Brookvale. Contact us.
This blog focuses on arthritis-related diseases, healthcare in general, and our Connected Care philosophy.