1. Section Editor(s): Rodts, Mary Faut Editor, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN

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As orthopaedic nurses, we understand the disability that is caused by osteoarthritis. We see patients every day who are undergoing treatment or who have had treatment in the past. The numbers are astounding. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2006) stated that 46 million adults in the United States were affected by a form of arthritis with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis most commonly seen. It is estimated that this number will escalate to 67 million adults by the year 2030.

Mary Faut Rodts, Edi... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Faut Rodts, Editor, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN

In 2011, the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses joined the American Journal of Nursing and The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to bring together experts to discuss how nurses could play a pivotal role in improving care for the millions of Americans with osteoarthritis. The group consisted of nurses, physicians, physical therapists, social workers, complementary and alternative medicine providers, public health providers, pharmaceutical researchers, and others who were charged with the question of how a more multidisciplinary approach can be developed for this patient population.


The concern of how to manage this predictably large group of patients has been something that the Arthritis Foundation has worked with the CDC on and developed A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis, 2010. Building on their previous collaborative efforts that began in 1999 with the development of The National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy, these two key organizations identified the need to take "bold and innovative action to reduce the burden of this growing public health issue" (CDC, 2010). With this national mandate, the timing was right to pursue answers to questions about prevention of disease, improving care, and facilitating improved lifestyles for those people affected by osteoarthritis.


During the symposium, main themes emerged and participants identified barriers to care. Discussions ensued with strategies developed.


Orthopaedic Nursing is happy to publish in print this important information that was previously printed online by the American Journal of Nursing. Understanding the problem of osteorarthritis is not new to orthopaedic nurses; however, the strategies to change and improve the patient experience are. As orthopaedic nurses, we must share this information with colleagues and develop system change initiatives to take this important information and put it to work for the benefit of our patients.




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006). Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation-United States, 2003-2005. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 55(40), 1089-1092. [Context Link]


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). A national public health agenda for osteoarthritis, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2012, from[Context Link]