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Diabetes Nursing

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Letter: Two representative bodies should still mean one voice for diabetes nurses

I am very glad that I made the effort to attend the Journal of Diabetes Nursing conference on 4 February. The talks were topical and stimulating, discussion was lively, and Simon Breed, our chair for the day, kept the programme moving and provided excellent summaries of the principal messages. The mood was optimistic and positive, as we reflected on our power to influence the shape of things to come.

The only item that was less optimistic was the debate led by the Chairs of the RCN Diabetes Nursing Forum and the UK Association of Diabetes Specialist Nurses, entitled ‘Are there too many groups attempting to represent the needs of diabetes nurses?’ Both speakers were brave to bare their souls in public, but despite their shared aims and beliefs, or perhaps because of them, they seemed to reach a deadlock.

Personally, I was disappointed when I became aware (through an article in the first issue of this journal) of the proposal to establish a new association for DSNs. I was among those who feared that this would lead to fragmentation, which would hamper our ability to speak with one voice.

On the one hand, it was encouraging to see a group of ‘new faces’ who were keen to speak up for DSNs; on the other hand though, it was disappointing that none of these very enthusiastic nurses was willing to fill any of the vacancies for RCN Forum committee members at that time. I remain unconvinced of the need for a separate association, but nevertheless have been impressed by the continuing commitment and enthusiasm of the UK Association committee members, who have worked hard on the Joint Education Working Party subgroups and have organised a national conference for DSNs.

Although my own feeling is that we don’t need two representative bodies whose aims and activities almost exactly mirror each other, there is obviously a very strong, if not large, body of opinion that thinks otherwise. The way forward must therefore be to concentrate on developing the cooperation and collaboration that already exists between the RCN Forum and the UK Association. In this way, we can fully harness the strengths of both representative bodies, and speak with one strong voice.

I am very glad that I made the effort to attend the Journal of Diabetes Nursing conference on 4 February. The talks were topical and stimulating, discussion was lively, and Simon Breed, our chair for the day, kept the programme moving and provided excellent summaries of the principal messages. The mood was optimistic and positive, as we reflected on our power to influence the shape of things to come.

The only item that was less optimistic was the debate led by the Chairs of the RCN Diabetes Nursing Forum and the UK Association of Diabetes Specialist Nurses, entitled ‘Are there too many groups attempting to represent the needs of diabetes nurses?’ Both speakers were brave to bare their souls in public, but despite their shared aims and beliefs, or perhaps because of them, they seemed to reach a deadlock.

Personally, I was disappointed when I became aware (through an article in the first issue of this journal) of the proposal to establish a new association for DSNs. I was among those who feared that this would lead to fragmentation, which would hamper our ability to speak with one voice.

On the one hand, it was encouraging to see a group of ‘new faces’ who were keen to speak up for DSNs; on the other hand though, it was disappointing that none of these very enthusiastic nurses was willing to fill any of the vacancies for RCN Forum committee members at that time. I remain unconvinced of the need for a separate association, but nevertheless have been impressed by the continuing commitment and enthusiasm of the UK Association committee members, who have worked hard on the Joint Education Working Party subgroups and have organised a national conference for DSNs.

Although my own feeling is that we don’t need two representative bodies whose aims and activities almost exactly mirror each other, there is obviously a very strong, if not large, body of opinion that thinks otherwise. The way forward must therefore be to concentrate on developing the cooperation and collaboration that already exists between the RCN Forum and the UK Association. In this way, we can fully harness the strengths of both representative bodies, and speak with one strong voice.

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