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Diabetes Forum - link nurses

Nurses with expertise and particular specialism in diabetes who further help support the forum and represent the RCN on diabetes

The RCN diabetes link nurses work with the RCN diabetes forum committee and other RCN activists and clinical specialists. They provide wider clinical expertise and specialism to help make sure nursing practice in diabetes care, nursing policy and research expertise is appropriately profiled.

Vicki Alabraba

Vicki Alabraba

Vicki has been a diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) since 2005 and has worked across both primary and secondary care specialities in Birmingham, Liverpool and now Leicester.

Her new current role is as an Education and Research Associate at Leicester Diabetes Centre which she started in June 2021. Prior to that Vicki worked as a community DSN for 6 years within an integrated diabetes service called Liverpool Diabetes Partnership. Here, she was lead nurse for the teams online communications and social media platforms. Liverpool Diabetes Partnership won a number of awards for improvements in diabetes care since the service was commissioned in 2015.

Vicki also works voluntarily as part of the DSN Forum UK management team and with the Diabetes 101 twitter team which was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vicki has a keen interest in diabetes secondary to pancreatic damage, surgery and cancer and also new onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT). She also has a keen interest in digital health and education and enjoys developing new digital educational material for both health care professionals and people living with diabetes.

Vicki is also working towards her MSc in Diabetes Practice at Swansea University. In 2020 Vicki was nominated for and won the Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Professional of the Year.

Micki Bennett

Micki Bennett

Clinical specialist in eating disorders 

Micki qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 1979. She moved into Community Nursing in Milton Keynes soon after qualifying then moved to Dorset to work with young people.

After traveling around the world, Micki returned to Dorset and in 2000 and started working with people with eating disorders. This became her passion and she developed services at the local university, running a clinic there in the on-campus GP surgery.

Micki became aware of the gap in provision for people with diabetes and an eating disorder a few years ago and made contact with the local diabetes team in Bournemouth. As a result of this contact, a working relationship developed. When NHS England asked for bids for a pilot project for this group, the eating disorder and Diabetes teams were already working together.

Involvement in this project and being part of a team addressing both the physical and mental health of a group of individuals has been immensely rewarding.

Samantha Kelly

Samantha Kelly

Diabetes Nurse Consultant for Merton & Wandsworth for Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Sam currently leads the Tier 3 (intermediate) Diabetes specialist community services for the London Boroughs of Merton & Wandsworth. The services have a multi-disciplinary team (Consultant, Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSN), Dietitians & Podiatrists) who manage patients with Type 1 and 2 diabetes in both face to face & virtual clinics. Her service also provides dedicated clinical advisory time to GP surgeries. This is to meet with the Lead GP & Practice Nurses and to have virtual clinical case discussions of their priority patients. This also enables upskilling of their practice and partnership working in Tiers 1 & 2 (primary care/PCN level). 

Structured group education is also delivered (DESMOND & DAFNE) in a variety of settings.

With experience in ward management, Care of the Older Person and General Medicine, Sam has worked in the NHS for 37 years. She has specialised in diabetes for the last 26 years. 

Sam has obtained a Masters Degree in Diabetes, is an Independent Nurse Prescriber and a Queen’s Nurse. 

Ledwina Mutandwa

Ledwina Mutandwa

Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Buckinghamshire NHS Trust

Ledwina has worked in her current role as a Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse for the Buckinghamshire NHS Trust since 2007. Prior this she was a District Nurse and with extensive nursing experience working with older people both in the community and within hospital settings. Ledwina undertook her initial nurse training in Harare Hospital, Zimbabwe before moving to London in 1992. Her she did her conversion training at Edgeware Hospital. Ledwina went back to Zimbabwe briefly and on her return to England in 1999 she started working for the Buckinghamshire NHS Trust. 

Ledwina is an independent nurse prescriber and a member of the esteemed Queen’s Nursing Institute. She has a BA. in Nursing from Luton University, a Post Graduate Diploma in District Nursing and MSc. in Advanced Community Practitioner from Oxford Brookes University

Ledwina successfully initiated a project on safe fasting during Ramadan for her Trust. The project was well-received and was awarded first place at the Trust’s staff awards ceremony. She was involved in setting up training for Health Care Assistants employed by Buckinghamshire NHS Trust to safely administer insulin to house bound people living with diabetes on insulin.

Ledwina sees the forum as central to the communication, support and development of all its members to improve care provided to people living with diabetes. She can offer knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm in order to improve care and commitment.

Ledwina sees herself as a role model to ethnic minority nurses especially those from an Africa background. 

Silhouette of a woman

Fiona Pullen

Diabetes Specialist Nurse

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

Fiona has worked as a DSN in primary care, the community and secondary care for over 15 years. She currently delivers care to inpatients and outpatients. She specialises in Type 1 diabetes including insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring and supporting young adults as they move into adult services. She is also a visiting lecturer at a local university teaching post-graduate nurses.

Fiona has a special interest in education because knowledge and skills are foundational to empower people with diabetes to manage their condition successfully and to empower healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. Not all HCPs can be diabetes specialists but all must deliver increasingly complex diabetes care. She believes that it is essential that non-specialist nurses, associates and healthcare assistants have easy access to effective education to enable them to practice safely and competently.

Fiona’s MSc was funded by RCN Foundation bursaries which motivated her to continue her involvement with the RCN. As a member of the diabetes forum steering committee Fiona wants to support nursing professionals.

Zoe Sherwood

Zoe Sherwood

Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse

Zoe’s career began within Health & Safety Project Management, specialising in occupational health and safety projects. However, following her eldest sons Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis at the age of four years old, she decided to alter her career path and retrain to become a diabetes specialist nurse. During this time Zoe became involved in a number of campaigns to raise awareness of “hidden” medical conditions and increase education regarding Diabetes. Zoe tirelessly pushed for greater protection for children with medical conditions at school and her work contributed to a change in legislation in what is now the Children and Families Act (2014). Zoe has since completed additional training and obtained a distinction for her Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes and also her Non-Medical prescribing qualification. 

Zoe’s most recent work involves working as an inpatient DSN for a Mental Health Trust and is currently working as a community DSN. Zoe has also spent time supporting the FIT UK board, DSN Forum UK and supported local universities as a visiting lecturer. Zoe has also had work published in the Journal for Diabetes Nursing and submitted a poster entry at EASDec on a join initiative to increase attendance at retinal screening appointments within vulnerable population groups. Zoe involved service users to write an easy read diabetes education leaflet series, which has been translated into multiple languages and is being used as a resource in primary care across Birmingham. 

Jackie Webb

Jackie Webb

Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Heartlands Hospital part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust

Jackie has worked in her current role since 2003. University Hospitals Birmingham is the largest hospital trusts in the country and at Heartlands Hospital they are fortunate to have a dedicated Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre where there is a world renowned and respected Diabetes Team.

As a Manager she has a broad remit that encompasses a strategic role, responsibility for service provision on 3 hospital sites and managing a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN) team of 14 DSN’s,4 part time Diabetes specialist midwives, an Asian Link worker, 3 admin staff, an Outpatient clinic facility and staff and Endocrine Clinical nurse specialists.

As well as managing the service and staff Jackie support clinics, has her own patient caseload and has a special interest in Preconception care and pre pregnancy planning.

Jackie initially qualified as an Enrolled Nurse in 1979, converted to RGN in 1990, attained a BSc (Hons) in Health Promotion in 2005 and her post graduate master’s level nurse prescribing qualification in 2012.

Jackie enjoyed her time as part of the forum and found it an ideal opportunity to influence and shape diabetes care and services and to support, develop and champion the role of the DSN.