Type of Degree
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common chronic diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) among young adults aged between 20 and 40 years. In multiple sclerosis, the loss of myelin (demyelination) is accompanied by a disruption in the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain, causing MS symptoms (European Multiple Sclerosis Platform, 2014).
It is one of the leading causes of disability in young adults, in developed countries. The symptoms vary greatly and include pain, blurred vision, muscle weakness, paresthesias, unsteadiness and fatigue. The wide individual variation makes life unpredictable (Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, 2014).
It is estimated that MS affects about 2.5 million people worldwide (Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, 2014) and more than 5,000 people in Portugal (Portuguese Society for Multiple Sclerosis, 2014).
As a chronic disease, the patients’ responsibility in disease management is a key aspect and its success depends largely on their efforts. The quality of life of MS patients and their families is affected at various levels, namely psychological, social, family, professional, and financial.
For this reason, nurses are faced with the challenge of providing support to patients and their families in managing the therapeutic self-care, therapeutic regimes, signs and symptoms, activities of daily living, and in their interaction with support services and their accessibility. The nurses’ role focuses on optimizing the response of patients and families to this transition process, promoting their adaptation to a new condition, and improving their quality of life and well-being.
- To promote advanced training on MS and leadership, contributing to the sustainability and further development of clinical practices, patient advocacy, education and research.
- To develop nurses’ diagnostic, prescriptive and assessment skills to meet the specific needs of patients and families, contributing to a better adaptation in the psychological, social, family, professional, and financial domains, among others.
- To empower nurses to help MS patients and their families manage their therapeutic self-care.
- To produce to produce evidence on MS best practices and their implementation on nursing clinical practice.
- To contribute to improve the quality of life of MS patients by promoting advocacy, knowledge acquisition, expertise and research.
Based on a student-centred learning approach, the program will use methodologies that allow for the acquisition of skills in the management and provision of care to MS patients and their families. The program will have theoretical, theoretical-practical, practical and clinical components, in order to consolidate the knowledge and skills in this area.
The theoretical classes will be mainly explanatory using an overhead projector, board, laptop and multimedia projector, video, television, among other equipment. In the theoretical-practical and practical classes, we will use active strategies, such as discussion in small groups, simulation, among others.
The clinical component will consist of active strategies, such as the analysis and discussion of clinical studies in a clinical context of reference in this field (Neurology Unit of the Coimbra Hospital and University Center).
Students will be encouraged to conduct a literature search on the most recent evidence in the field of care provision to MS patients and families, complementing the contents presented in the classroom. Students will be assessed on their ability to perform a literature review.
ASSESSMENT AND CERTIFICATION
Students will be assessed through written exams, and the elaboration and presentation of a written literature review and a report on their clinical experience. Students who complete the program will be certified by the Nursing School of Coimbra. Students will be able to apply to international certification by the Multiple Sclerosis Nursing International Certification.
The program runs from October 2014 to September 2015. It includes a theoretical and a practical component. The theoretical classes will take place mostly on Saturdays. Classes usually take place in the morning from 9:30 am to 1 pm, and in the afternoon from 2 pm to 6 pm.
The practical classes last one week, to be agreed between the student and the program coordinators, from Tuesday to Friday.