Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in

Achieving STAR results

Medical education case study: developing the knowledge, competence and confidence of rheumatology nurses

A survey by the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology (BHPR) of 260 nurse members highlighted the increased role nurses now play in both the development of business plans and in mentoring their colleagues. Despite this increased focus, nurses are lacking in any formal training in these areas.

As a result, Wyeth's communications and advocacy team devised and launched the Specialist Treatment Advisors in Rheumatology (STAR) programme in partnership with Ruder Finn. The aim of the programme was to address some of the needs highlighted in the survey as well as help develop nurse confidence and competence in counselling their patients.

The flagship event was a two-day educational conference for rheumatology nurses, accredited by the RCN and focused on developing skills in business case development, mentoring and consulting.


A powerpoint slide introducing the STAR meeting
The programme aimed to develop knowledge, confidence and competence of nurses


Wyeth's overall objective was to develop an educational event that would equip rheumatology nurses with practical skills that addressed current knowledge gaps around business case development and mentoring. In addition, the nurses would be provided with advice and guidance on how to meet their patients' needs more effectively.

The success of the event would be measured against the following criteria:
• Achieve attendance of 30-40 rheumatology nurses at a two-day educational conference
• Ensure delegates are equipped with practical skills they can implement in their clinics
• Run a professional, well-organised event that reflects positively on the Wyeth brand.

This criteria would be evaluated through a delegate survey at the end of the event.  

Ruder Finn, along with Wyeth, ran a two-day educational conference in central London, entitled the STAR Meeting 2009. It covered new patient research, interactive workshops run by relevant industry experts and featured podcasts and handouts for those unable to attend. Importantly, unlike many educational events, it was non-clinical, instead focusing on providing rheumatology nurses with practical skills that would directly benefit their day-to-day work. The meeting was accredited by the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) and each attendee received an RCN certificate that formed a part of their continuing professional development. The event was also chaired by an RCN representative, Sue Thomas.

To provide context to the meeting Ruder Finn conducted a survey with members of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Association (NRAS). The survey identified the most important features of patients' rheumatology management regime and provided insight into how they perceive the role of the nurse in this process. This research, along with a recent study by the Rheumatology Futures Group, formed the basis for Sue's opening presentation.

Over the two days, delegates attended the following seminars and interactive workshops:

Business skills: Run by Jacqui Little, an ex-accountant who has worked within the NHS for 18 years specialising in redesigning and developing NHS services. Jacqui's workshop looked at the issues nurses face in developing business cases for service changes. During an interactive workshop she provided delegates with practical tips and advice on how they can develop a successful case.

Mentorship: Ursula Franklin and Jen Jenkins, of Wyeth Europa, provided delegates with advice on how to take a more structured approach to mentorship. Although established nurses are expected to mentor newly qualified nurses, they are rarely given any formal training on how to do this. This session looked at some of the key principles of mentoring and provided advice on how to establish a successful mentoring relationship.

Consultation skills: Nurses provide consultation to patients most days of their working careers and it is an area they have considerable experience in. Despite this, it is an area that can often be continually improved when nurses are given the opportunity to reflect on their current approach. Cath Thwaites, a lecturer/practitioner at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Keele University, provided delegates with examples of why this is often an overlooked area and practical tips on how they can improve their patient consultations.

Following the event, a series of podcasts was developed in which delegates talked through their key learnings from each of the sessions. These podcasts were then disseminated online through a number of outlets. They were also packaged together with slide presentations and made available to those nurses unable to attend the event as well as for attendees to run their own bespoke workshops. 

The STAR Meeting 2009 took place on 17 and 18 July at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury, London, and a total of 36 nurses attended. Following the event the podcasts were made available on iTunes, and other content sharing sites, and over 200 packs were produced for non-attendees.

When asked if the event would have an impact on their future practice, 75 per cent of the delegates said 'definitely yes' and 25 per cent said 'probably yes'. 97 per cent of the delegates said that the event was either 'extremely useful' (61 per cent) or 'useful' (36 per cent) and 100 per cent of delegates said that the organisation of the event was either 'excellent' (76 per cent) or 'good' (24 per cent).

Finally one delegate concluded it was "probably the best company-sponsored meeting and training session I have been on. I have learned so much and will definitely make full use of it in my future practice."


Case study details

Client: Wyeth (now a part of Pfizer Inc)
Agency: Ruder Finn
Campaign: STAR Meeting 2009
Timescale: May 2009 to November 2009

25th March 2010


Subscribe to our email news alerts


Add my company
Four Health

Beautiful things happen when you put the right ingredients together. It’s the reason that we mix behaviour change experts with...

Latest intelligence

Clinical Trials Investigator and Patient Engagement Planning: A Customer Story
New Playbook Alert: Virtual Patient Engagement
Millennials: the wellness generation
Looking at the results from a global healthcare research study focusing on the patients of the future...