RCN Diabetes Forum
2007 was a good year for the RCN Diabetes Forum. Membership from within the RCN continues to flourish – over 6500 nurses have elected to join through the RCN – and it is good to see that nurses remain committed to keeping up to date with diabetes knowledge and skills. New web-based resources are planned for 2008 which will make it even easier to get the latest evidence-base for diabetes.
The committee welcomed new members and now has representation from diabetes nurse consultants, DSNs, diabetes nurse education and primary care. This strong committee enabled 2 very successful study days in June and October.
The first day focused on the acute complications of diabetes and was attended by ward nurses and community nurses in particular. The second day looked at the chronic complications of diabetes. Attendees were from a variety of nursing backgrounds and both days saw attendances of over 110 people.
Work has been undertaken to provide diabetes nursing input into NICE guidelines and the production of the ‘Diabites’ newsletter. This is sent to all members of the forum and provides a useful exchange of ideas and current issues in diabetes nursing.
While 2007 has been a generally positive year, the Forum committee has also been involved in the RCN campaign to highlight the threats to DSNs and while posts are downgraded and frozen the fight continues. 2008 presents a challenge more than ever to demonstrate the value of specialist nursing.
Gayle Richards, Committee member
A report by Diabetes UK has revealed that some paediatric diabetes specialist nurses (PDSNs) have double the caseload recommended by the RCN.
The report on the progress of primary care organisations in 2007 shows that some PDSNs in PCTs in England look after more than 160 children, more than double the recommended 70. Such a caseload makes it extremely difficult for nurses to find the time to help children manage their diabetes effectively.
The PDSN case load in 41% of English PCTs has increased since 2006, and only 7% of PCTs have improved their PDSN caseload according to the report. This is despite recent figures from the Healthcare Commission that showed more than 80% of children with diabetes are not achieving recommended blood glucose levels.
Sarah Milsom, Diabetes UK
Professionals united by diabetes
PRofessionals United by Diabetes (PROUD) is a network of people living with diabetes who are also or have been involved with diabetes professionally. ‘Living with diabetes’ includes those who have any form of diabetes and those caring for immediate family members with diabetes. Members of PROUD come from all areas of the healthcare community and include: scientists and those working in industry; the voluntary and charitable sectors; and medical writers and publishers.
PROUD aims to provide a mutual support and discussion network for ‘professionals united by diabetes’; develop educational initiatives based on members’ ‘dual’ insights and experiences which could benefit the wider patient-community and act as a consultation group for appropriate projects. To this end, members of PROUD have written ‘Diabetes Narratives’ based on their experiences and these can be found on the PROUD website.
PROUD is guided by a steering group and this year PROUD aims to undertake research on the needs of healthcare professionals who live and work with diabetes. To find out more about us see our website, www.proud-diabetes.org.
Jo Butler, Diabetes Nurse Consultant