Section 1: Information about the writer

Omer Tajalssir Mohammed

Specialist Registrar in Rheumatology/ Newcastle University Hospitals

Section 2: Scope of practice in the UK:

With the tremendous advances in successfully treating these diseases, rheumatology has evolved not only as the leading specialty in the development of biologic therapies but also as a gratifying specialty to care for patients. The firm linkage to immunology and the rapid pace that new discoveries move from the bench to bedside is very exciting.


Clinically, the diverse nature of rheumatic diseases keeps the clinician sharp as a trainee and facilitates positive interactions with most internal medicine specialties. Training in Rheumatology provides a good mixture of outpatient care and exciting inpatient consultations as well as fast paced day units.


There are numerous opportunities to develop sub-specialty interests in clinical, scientific or educational fields, and many rheumatologists become national and international leaders in each of these areas.

There are also extensive opportunities for collaborative working with colleagues in primary & secondary care and the scientific community. There are vast opportunities for research, please see Academia web page for more details.

Upon completion of training, about 70% of consultants in the UK currently practise pure rheumatology. The requirement of trainees to dual accredit with GIM has been made to intending to expand the consultant numbers who practise rheumatology with GIM.

Rheumatology is one of the few specialties where there is still a reasonable balance between the number of trainees and the availability of consultant posts in the UK.

Finally, with a relative nationwide shortage of trained rheumatologists, an increasing burden of musculoskeletal diseases in our currently aging population, and improved reimbursement to practicing rheumatologists, this specialty provides an excellent opportunity to practice in a geographic locality of your choosing in a blossoming field that provides a comfortable lifestyle.


Mastering joint and soft tissue ultrasound to assist diagnosis and intervention.

Vascular arterial dopplers (Arteritis).

Section 3: Type of Training/ Route to Training

All trainees now must undertake a five-year programme to dual accredit with general internal medicine (GIM). It is no longer possible to undertake a four-year training programme in pure rheumatology. Five years (Dual certified with General Medicine) or Four years single accreditation (trainees before 2015).

Section 4: Subspecialties

The Following are special interest areas of Rheumatology

  • Adolescent and young adult (AYA)
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Myositis
  • Medical education
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Resistant Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis
  • Foot and ankle
  • Genetics of rheumatic disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Heritable disorders of connective tissue
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Soft tissue rheumatism and sports medicine
  • Spondyloarthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Vasculitis

Section 5: Application Process

To be continued

Section 6: Requirements To Get Into Training (Person Specification)

Essential Requirements:

  • GMC Registration
  • MRCP Full membership
  • CMT or equivalent training.


Section 7: Important CV/Portfolio Perks (How To Achieve Them)

  1. Experience at CT/ST 1/2 level of managing patients with rheumatological conditions by the time of commencement of ST3 training.

Practical Tips:

  1. Placement in rheumatology if possible (even if non-training job)
  2. Evidence of rheumatology clinics attendance (assessment or letter from a consultant).


  1. BSR/ACR/EULAR membership (BSR offers free membership.
  2. Relevant courses (i.e., joint injection/MSK U/S), check the events page on BSR website.
  3. Online modules including EULAR courses (evidenced by certificates is required).
  4. Relevant audit/QIP.
  5. Relevant Research/Teaching experience if possible (hard copies of PPT/paper required).


  1. Evidence of skills in the management of acute medical emergencies.

Tip: Attend IMPACT/ALERT course

  1. Evidence of ST3 level procedural skills.

Tip: Try to perform relevant DOPS (evidence is required) or simulation lab courses.

  1. Evidence of a portfolio of audit/quality improvement projects: including where the audit loop has been closed, and there is evidence of learning of the principles of change management.

Tip: Try Quality improvement as it could easily be completed within few weeks, Relevant QIP is desirable but not essential.

  1. Evidence of involvement in teaching students, postgraduates, and other professionals.

Tip: To get the highest mark, need to organise and deliver at least two university students teaching sessions (liaise with student liaison manager), get formal feedback from the audience (print from RCP website).

  1. Extracurricular activity, i.e., Charity.

Tip: make a poster of medical missions you did while in medical school, It does make a huge difference.

Section 8: The Interview

You will spend approximately 10 minutes at each of the three interview stations. Thus the overall time for the interview will be about 40-45 minutes. There are three stations details as follows:

Station 1


This is where your application form and training to date will be reviewed. This will include checking the documentation you have brought along to ensure all content on your application form is correct. There may be a third interviewer present here, who is brought in to assist with reviewing of this documentation, allowing the other two clinicians to concentrate on questioning.

The two most important aspects of discussion here, on which you will be assessed, will be your suitability for and commitment to ST3 training in the specialty, and your achievements to date.

Station 2


Prior to arriving at station 2, you will be given a clinical scenario to review. Upon arrival at station 2, you will be asked questions relating to this scenario.

The clinical scenario will be relatively brief (two/three sentences), so once you have read this, the remainder of the pre-station time will allow you to undertake some short preparation (just mental preparation – this does not mean making notes, etc.)

The scenario will describe a hypothetical clinical situation which has arisen in which you are, or have become, involved.

One mark will be awarded to you based on your suggestions and responses to the clinical scenario.

The second assessment carried out here will be on the communication skills you display.

This will be both an assessment of how you would communicate with patients, colleagues, etc. in the scenario, as well as of how well you communicate with interviewers at the station.

Station 3


This station will feature assessment of an ethical scenario, and discussion of a question on the subject of professionalism & governance.

The first assessment area will be the ethical scenario. As with the clinical scenario at station 2, this takes the form of a hypothetical situation, described briefly in text form, details of which will be given to you before arriving at station 3.

However, as you would expect this scenario focuses less on a clinical situation, and deals more with consideration of the moral, ethical, legal (etc.) issues which may arise in a particular situation.

The first area of assessment at station three will be your suggested responses to the ethical scenario during the discussion here, as well as your knowledge of the different considerations required.

Following the ethical scenario will be discussion of professionalism & governance. Familiarise yourself with the GMC Good Medical Practice (available online).

quick-tip-e1366327676423 Essential Book:

Medical Interviews: a comprehensive guide to CT, ST and Registrar interview skills. They also offer one day course; I found it very useful.


Section 9: Competition Ratio

Around 27-35 National Training Numbers and 2-5 LATs (only Wales and Scotland).

In 2016 applicants were 113

Ratio 1:3

Limited numbers are left for round 2. Pool your effort on round 1.

Section 10: Offers and Visa Issues and HEE

Like Other training posts, try to get training visa (CMT/F2) in-order to skip RLMT. Please refer to visa section of SJDA.

Section 11: Speciality Exams

A Specialty Certificate Examination is now a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for all UK trainees whose specialist training began in or after August 2007. The SCEs meet requirements for knowledge-based assessments that are a part of the curricula submitted to the General Medical Council (GMC) by the Specialist Advisory Committees (SACs). UK trainees who have completed MRCP(UK) would normally take the SCE during higher specialist training, and should have made at least one attempt by the time of their penultimate year assessment. The SCE is a prerequisite for the attainment of the CCT.

Section 12: Speciality Courses

To be continued.

Section 13: Rotations

Varies according to the deanery. As a rule of thumb, trainee rotates to a different hospital every year. It’s not mandatory to spend some time in district hospitals as in other medical specialities.

OOPR: Highly encouraged in the speciality to achieve academic degrees. Detailed info is available on the Academia page.

Section 14: Ranking of Deaneries

To be continued.

Section 15: Wages / Take Home Cash

To be continued.

Section 16: MTI

To be continued.

Section 17: Experience of Sudanese Doctors (Personal Experience)

To be continued.

Section 18: Important Links and Websites

ST3 Recruitment Website. http://www.st3recruitment.org.uk/specialties/rheumatology

BSR Website: http://rheumatology.org.uk/

EULAR:   http://www.eular.org/

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Although the information contained on this guide should be fairly accurate, and every effort has been made to check Its details. However, it is possible that some errors have been missed or that some information may have been revised. The information provided by this website are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication.