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State of the Science in the Prevention and Management of Osteoarthritis-A Conference for Nurses

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting 27 million Americans. In an effort to raise awareness and increase knowledge of OA among the nursing community, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the American Journal of Nursing and the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses will present a groundbreaking two-day symposium: "State-of-the-Science in the Prevention and Management of Osteoarthritis" on Thursday, July 14, and Friday, July 15.

Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, renowned for its leadership in the fields of orthopedics and rheumatology, will host the two-day symposium at the hospital's Richard Menschel Conference Center.

"Our goal is to synthesize the existing research on best practices in osteoarthritis care and develop strategies for improving nurses' knowledge and competencies in the areas of OA prevention, early detection, treatment and promotion of optimum function," said Laura Robbins, DSW, senior vice president for education and academic affairs and an associate scientist in the research division at Hospital for Special Surgery. "Another objective of the conference is to identify the challenges and gaps in research that must be addressed to improve the nurse's role in the delivery of evidence-based care."

The conference will feature a culturally diverse group of thought leaders from the areas of nursing practice, education and research, as well as speakers from consumer advocacy groups and a representative from the Centers for Disease Control Arthritis Program. Those attending the conference will receive continuing education units.

Among the topics to be explored:

  • Best practices in patient assessment and early intervention
  • The state of the science of current treatments and strategies to prevent immobility and manage the effects of OA
  • Clinical, educational and research priorities for developing best nursing practices to meet the needs of people with OA
  • How to enhance the awareness, skill sets and competencies of nurses working with patients and families.

"Nurses are accessible, approachable and consistently ranked by consumers among the most trusted health professionals," said Maureen "Shawn" Kennedy, MA, RN, editorial director and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing. "As a group, nurses are ideally suited to convey health messages to the public. Yet many nurses may be unaware of early symptoms, strategies for prevention and early intervention to slow disease progression, preserve high functioning and optimize quality of life."

Organizers intend to publish and widely disseminate a report on the symposium presentations and proceedings, according to Dr. Robbins. The report will include recommendations for improving care. It will be posted online at and on the nursing portal site,, with links to web sites of project partners and others to make it widely available. It will be sent to subscribers of the American Journal of Nursing and to Orthopaedic Nursing.

"As the largest group of health care providers most often encountered in any health care setting, nurses are in a key position to have an impact on reducing disability from OA," said Patricia Quinlan, R.N., DNSc, MPA, director of nursing education, quality and research at Hospital for Special Surgery. "It is well within the nurse's scope of practice to educate the public about early recognition of symptoms and to initiate timely intervention, including a wide range of treatments."


Contact: Phyllis Fisher


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