Reflections of a student nurse working at Diabetes UK – by Kavita Dow
I’ve always had an interest in the cause of diabetes and how different populations are affected by the condition. As a result, I thought I would find it interesting to learn more about how organisations such as Diabetes UK support people with diabetes, as well as how they connect with nurses and clinicians.
My experience at Diabetes UK was an eye- opener in terms of recognising the vast range of support they provide to people living with and at risk of diabetes as well as supporting professionals and working across agencies to affect change in the way care for people with diabetes is being delivered.
They take on many roles such as working with the public to raise awareness of diabetes and providing information on how people living with diabetes can better care for themselves. They provide a Careline service for people who are newly diagnosed or currently living with diabetes to get information and supporting in self-care and important health checks. They work with GPs across the country, providing information and resources so GPs can better support their patients who have diabetes.
Diabetes UK works with Trusts to provide training in diabetes care and help to share best practice. They also work with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to affect change in policies and the way care is being delivered from a top- down level.
While at Diabetes UK, I was working in the Shared Practice and Innovation Team. I worked on a project which involved finding examples of good practice and investigating how Trusts went about creating and implementing this. The project looked at how a Trust supported patients in self -administering their oral medication, as well as their insulin by creating and implementing a self-medication policy.
This experience assisted me in understanding that nurses and clinicians are not alone in supporting patients with diabetes. In fact, it is crucial that all professionals involved in the caring for patients with diabetes promote good practice and communicate across agencies in order to make a real change in the way care for people with diabetes is delivered.
I think nurses can often work in isolation, unaware of the work of other professionals outside of the NHS and not well informed of how organisations such as Diabetes UK can support them in supporting their patients as well as being aware of how they can support good practice and make a difference in their own Trust.
The opportunity I was given at Diabetes UK has definitely impacted on my understanding of their role in supporting people living with diabetes as well as professionals who support them. I am now inspired to look for ways in which I would be able to affect positive change in the way that diabetes care is delivered in the hospital setting when I become a qualified staff nurse.
I am also aware that there are Trusts that have created solutions to the problems that other Trusts face and sharing good practice is key to improving care for people who are affected by diabetes. I would like encourage my fellow student nurses and qualified nurses to find out more about the work that Diabetes UK is doing in supporting patients who have diabetes; there is a wide range of resources that you can use to support your patients and promote good practice in diabetes care in whichever area you work in.