More authority brings change, by diabetes nurse Ruth Miller


Ruth-Miller-100x106pxI work as Lead Diabetes Nurse at the Royal Free NHS Trust and was Clinical Lead until 2013. Improving the clinical care and safety for patients with diabetes is what gets me up in the morning!

Becoming a Clinical Champion for Diabetes UK has been an incredibly positive experience and has added extra drive and confidence to my work. My current focus is on the development of the *Diabetes 10 Point Training.  The training is intended for non-specialist clinicians providing care to patients with diabetes on wards. It is divided into 3 modules, inpatient training, community training and mental health worker training (in diabetes).  It does not aim to create diabetes experts but recognises that all clinicians must possess a set of core competencies in order to keep their patients safe.

Any nurse who has tried to make changes in their area of work will know that trying to change systems in the NHS is far from easy and at times even dispiriting. I think, as a nurse, it is not uncommon when leading change, to have your authority questioned and even challenged, meaning it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the complexity and resistance from the status quo. However, my role as Clinical Champion has given me extra recognition and authority that did not previously exist.

Meeting a group of individuals who share my passion and single minded determination to improve care for people with diabetes has been really important.  I have joined a club of people who feel like me and who can share frustrations, experiences and delight when things do go well! The warmth, support and mutual encouragement within the Clinical Champion group has been fantastic.  This is affirmation to me that as nurses we can make changes for the better if we really, really want.

*Ruth has developed and is currently piloting this scheme which is being adapted for helping to train community nurses in her local area.

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