It’s been a crazier week than usual here at the NRAS office as we are gearing up for next week’s British Society of Rheumatology (BSR) Conference in Birmingham. This is one of the biggest events in the NRAS calendar as we have the chance to see the health care professionals that we work with and many more, as well as the other organisations that support patients in the rheumatology sector. Everyone has been rushed off their wheelie chairs, as we tend to launch our Spring magazine and sometimes special reports to coincide with the conference. This year we will be taking the new ‘Emotions, Relationships and Sexuality: The impact of rheumatoid arthritis on how we feel and relate to others’ booklet which many of you would have contributed towards, by taking the Relationships and RA survey at the end of last year. It’s now available to read online or order from our publications section of the website at nras.org.uk/help_for_you/pu... and there’ll be more information on our website next week.
It’ll be my first visit to the BSR but also the very first session on social media and rheumatology will be taking place. I have been asked to take part along with some rheumatologists that use this method of communicating with patients and raising awareness in the health sector. I’ll be tweeting from the conference on Wednesday so if anyone wants to keep updated then follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NRAS_UK .
It doesn’t end there, as I will also be presenting mine and Sarah Kate’s research poster on ‘The Value of Social Media to Those Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis', which again, many of you contributed towards by taking our Social Media and RA survey at the start of this year. The findings were really enlightening to the power that social media has in leading those diagnosed with RA to find better support, information and later on, the platform to provide others with the same support and wealth of knowledge. You told us that social media was the place you found the most information on RA, and only friends and family gave you more emotional support with living with the disease than social media did. HealthUnlocked came 2nd , only to Facebook, for the most useful site in relation to RA, so I hope it will continue to be positive experience for those diagnosed to find this community and make friends. I will get the poster up on the website soon so those who are interested can have a look at the results.
So apart from being nervous about all that, this weekend, I’ll be watching the London Marathon on Sunday and keeping my eyes peeled for some NRAS vests. We’ve got 4 people who chose to run for NRAS – Joseph, Scott, Ian and Phyllida - and I wish them good luck and some bearable weather! Darren Smith, a long time supporter of NRAS is also running, for another important cause, so our thoughts are with him as well.
Have a lovely weekend all!
Digital Media Coordinator