Self-management skills are an essential part of diabetes care and with the help and support of nursing staff the condition can be managed to help people stay healthy and prevent complications. Diabetes UK provide resources for health care professionals to increase the provision and uptake of diabetes self-management education.
Three of the main diabetes education courses available to people with the condition in the UK are:
Type 2 Diabetes and Me is an online step-by step guide for people with type 2 diabetes that provides information about the condition and the options and support available to them.
The RCN has developed Diabetes essentials, a CPD online learning resource covering the core concepts of diabetes, diagnosis and current treatments and the role of nurses in treating people with diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but people with type 1 diabetes can take steps to prevent or delay the development of complications by keeping their blood glucose level at the target level. They should also regularly meet with a health care professional to check for any signs of complications so they can receive treatment as early as possible.
Exercise can contribute to weight loss, increase insulin sensitivity and help to reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure. Diet is also an important factor in preventing diabetes. Excessive consumption of saturated fats, simple carbohydrates (such as found in white bread), sugar and salt can all contribute to the development of diabetes.The following foods can provide the basis of balanced diet to prevent and manage diabetes:
Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSNs) are crucial in providing good patient care and promoting self-care management. DSNs work wholly in diabetes care and may be employed in a variety of care settings. A DSN is often the first point of contact for people, referring them to other specialist services. A joint position statement on how DSNs can improve patient outcomes and deliver cost effective care, produced by Diabetes UK, the RCN and Training, Research and Education for Nurses on Diabetes (TREND-UK) is available here. Competencies relating to diabetes nursing, dietetics and podiatry can be found here. DSN’s will also provide training, education and support to non-specialist health care professionals including GP's, nurses in primary, secondary and community settings and care homes.
All nursing staff have an important role and clear responsibilities when treating people with diabetes. Nurses from across the nursing spectrum including occupational health nurses, nurses working in public health and school nurses are likely to come into contact with people who have diabetes or are having tests to diagnose diabetes. Practice nurses have a particularly vital role as they are often the people who carry out the annual diabetes and foot check. Practice nurses in particular play a clinical role in screening, maintaining and supporting people with diabetes.The roles and responsibilities of a nurse relating to diabetes care include: