Objective: To describe how people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience the care provided by Swedish nurse-led rheumatology outpatient clinics.
Methods: Eighteen adult people with a diagnosis of RA who had had at least three documented contact sessions with a nurse-led clinic were interviewed. The interviews were analysed with qualitative content analysis.
Results: Care was expressed in three categories: social environment, professional approach and value-adding measures. A social environment including a warm encounter, a familial atmosphere and pleasant premises was desired and contributed to a positive experience of care. The nurses' professional approach was experienced as empathy, knowledge and skill, as well as support. The care was described as person centred and competent, as it was based on the individual's unique experience of his/her disease and needs. The nurses' specialist knowledge of rheumatology and rheumatology care was highly valued. The offered care represented added value for the participants, instilling security, trust, hope and confidence. It was perceived as facilitating daily life and creating positive emotions. The nurse-led clinics were reported to be easily accessible and provided continuity of the care. These features were presented as fundamental guarantees for health care safety.
Conclusion: The experiences emphasized the need for a holistic approach to care. In this process, the organization of care and the role and skills of the nurse should be focused on the individual's needs and perspectives. The social environment, professional approach and value-adding measures are particularly relevant for optimal care at nurse-led rheumatology outpatient clinics.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.