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Early last year Arthritis Research UK awarded funding to a cohort of five international research institutions to run a nurse and allied health professional internship (AHP) scheme.

Arthritis research uk intern
Arthritis Research UK intern outside the Botnar Research Centre

Over the course of three years, the internship scheme will support 18 newly qualified AHPs at the start of their professional career and bring them into rheumatology research teams. Interns will get first-hand experience working on a research project of their choice, hosted by a leading university.

NDORMS has welcomed intern Catherine Bryer, who has been working with Cynthia Srikesavan at OCTRU on the development of the SARAH training tool - an Internet based training to increase specific exercises for patients with rheumatoid arthritis of the hand.

The Strengthening and Stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH) randomised control trial reported that twelve months after receiving the SARAH exercise package participants exhibited a significant improvement in their hand function compared to usual care. The aim of the research is to develop an Internet training tool (iSARAH) to disseminate the SARAH package both to therapists who manage patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to people with RA of their hands.

This internship has offered Catherine the opportunity to collaborate with the iSARAH team in Designing and developing the iSARAH online training programme to train NHS therapists to deliver the SARAH exercise programme in their routine clinical practice and to assist with the development of an online programme, which patients can access independently to undertake the exercise programme.

There has been the additional opportunity to perform a literature review evaluating the clinical benefits of web-based rehabilitation interventions designed for people with rheumatoid arthritis.