Sister Mini Jaison is a Diabetes Link Nurse in the hospital’s Acute Medical Unit (AMU) and her role is vital in ensuring that patients with diabetes are identified at the earliest possible stage, to help avoid any complications with their care and treatment during their stay in hospital.
Mini is one of a growing number of nurses at the hospital who are receiving specialist diabetes training, so that they are able to support patients with diabetes. They attend regular link nurse meetings facilitated by the Diabetes Specialist Nursing team, they have received specific training in diabetes management and can attend a full-day DESMOND course (Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed), which is a specific structured education course for people with type 2 diabetes. This enhances their knowledge in diabetes management and highlights the importance of self-management skills in patients with diabetes. Each link nurse is able to cascade their knowledge to staff within their clinical area and support any training initiatives. They are a valuable resource to clinical areas in ensuring patients are receiving safe and effective diabetes care.
With one in six patients attending hospital now having diabetes, it is vital that health professionals are able to identify and care for patients with diabetes quickly and effectively. Being poorly can act as a trigger for many patients with diabetes to develop complications including diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be a life-threatening condition if not treated quickly. It’s important for staff to identify the symptoms of this condition quickly and commence them onto the inpatient DKA pathway, to ensure they receive appropriate care in a timely manner.
Mini explains more about her role: “The Acute Medical Unit deals with patients who have attended our A&E department. Patients are often triaged in A&E and then sent to the AMU before either being discharged or admitted onto one of our wards.
“A key part of my role is checking a patient’s blood glucose results to see if they indicate conditions like DKA and ensure that the patient is treated safely and effectively and placed on the most appropriate pathway to help them get better quickly.
“Part of my role is to educate other nurses and doctors on the AMU about how to care for patients with diabetes and ensure those patients’ blood glucose levels are monitored regularly. I train them on how to monitor blood glucose levels and ketone meters to help patients manage and/or avoid hyper and hypo-glycaemia. I also work closely with patients to provide advice on how to self-care, monitor their own blood glucose levels and administer their insulin.”
The hospital has identified 25 diabetes link nurses on wards, who can support this vital function within their own clinical area, to ensure the best possible care and treatment for patients with diabetes.
Mini adds: “I’m really passionate about my role as a Diabetes Link Nurse and I would recommend it to all nurses. I’ve undertaken the role now for 3 years and the specialist training I have received has definitely helped me to build my knowledge and confidence in caring for patients with diabetes.”
Patient Case Study
One of the patients to benefit from the specialist knowledge that nurses like Mini have is Stephanie Welch from Limeside in Oldham.
Stephanie was referred to A&E at The Royal Oldham Hospital by NHS Direct after feeling poorly with gastrointestinal symptoms. She was diagnosed with DKA in A&E and transferred to the Acute Medical Unit (AMU). The Diabetes Link Nurse in AMU quickly ensured that she was placed on the right pathway and that her blood glucose and blood ketone level was monitored regularly as per the DKA pathway to ensure this was resolved quickly and to avoid any further complications. Stephanie is now getting better and on her way to a full recovery.
Stephanie said: “The staff in AMU have been fantastic in monitoring my condition and in helping treat the DKA very quickly. They have been really attentive and have given me lots of advice about how to manage my diabetes more effectively. I can’t thank them enough.”
For more information about the Diabetes Link Nurses at The Royal Oldham Hospital, please contact the following team members:
Linda Adams – Lead Nurse Diabetes
Abigail Harreld – all Diabetes Specialist Nurses on: 0161 6278268.
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