We are the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP), the voice of 700,000 people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in Europe. One important thing we’ve learned over 26 years of MS advocacy and awareness-raising is that no two people with multiple sclerosis are the same. They need personalised treatment, rehabilitation and care, and MS nurses play a pivotal role within this multidisciplinary approach.
In 2012, we started a project aimed at the specialisation of MS nurses across Europe. MS Nurse Professional is an online training programme that consists of five comprehensive modules accredited by the Royal College of Nursing alongside other national authorities.
By the end of 2015, MS Nurse Professional enrolled 2800 nurses having being launched in eight European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
By supporting European nurses through greater access to education, we are also empowering people with MS and contributing to a much needed improvement in the relation between patients and healthcare professionals. Or, as one nurse who completed our programme said:
“Improving patients’ understanding of this difficult disease ensures that they do not walk alone on their journey.”
But how tough is the MS journey?
MS is the main cause of disability in young adults after traffic accidents. It is mainly diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age, affecting people in their prime. Although the cause is still unknown, MS is associated with loss of myelin, which is a sheath that forms around the nerves. Less myelin leads to disruptions in the transmission of electrical impulses to and from the brain, causing a broad range of symptoms, from blurred vision and fatigue to speech problems and loss of movement. The sites where the myelin is lost appear as scars. This is why multiple sclerosis means, literally, many scars.