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Diabetes training programme ‘instilling confidence’ in GPNs

Diabetes training programme ‘instilling confidence’ in GPNs

A programme designed to support general practice nurses (GPNs) to deliver diabetes clinics in Scotland has provided ‘instant understanding and confidence’ among the workforce.

The NHS Grampian Supporting Practice Nurses in Diabetes, Revalidation and Appraisal programme (SANDRA) was founded in November 2019 to support nurses looking to provide more diabetes care, and as experienced GPNs headed for retirement.

Those behind the scheme, which was this month shortlisted for a national award, said it had equipped GPNs to diagnose patients earlier, offer appropriate treatment and reduce the risk of complications.

Led by nurse manager Sandra Wilson, the programme was created amid concerns over the number of experienced practice nurses looking to leave the profession within the next five years, risking a ‘gap in patient care’.

It is therefore aimed at those new to general practice, as well as those looking to upskill in diabetes care.

The programme is run by diabetes nurse specialists who support GPNs to ‘become competent in diabetes by offering time, education and importantly preceptorship’, Ms Wilson told Nursing in Practice.

GPNs complete the programme over two days, one month apart, with follow up days at six and 12 months, and they must demonstrate their learnings through a competencies framework.

‘One of the benefits for patients is the fact that with a greater understanding of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, practice nurses [are] equipped to diagnose the patient earlier and offer appropriate treatment, thus reducing the risk of complications,’ said Ms Wilson.

‘The programme also gives them the tools to undertake review clinics with confidence which can build a relationship with the patients and therefore also builds their trust.’

She added: ‘One of the nurses wrote saying the course provided instant understanding and confidence, especially in the understanding of the oral medication used for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes mellitus.’

Under the programme, GPNs are given a preceptorship period which Ms Wilson said ‘helps bridge the gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice’.

‘Part of our programme allows for an experienced practitioner in diabetes to work alongside the new staff member thus allowing time to become more confident in delivering safe and quality patient care,’ she added.

‘The programme has specific competencies we work through over a year to allow time for the nurse to become more confident and increase their knowledge by having someone to support them.’

A review of the training at Grampian found GPNs were more skilled and confident in supporting diabetes patients, with SANDRA leading to improved patient outcomes and a reduced reliance on GP appointments.

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