Diabetes is a global medical problem. In 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes; that is 9.3% of the population, making diabetes the 7th leading cause of death in 2010. Specialist diabetes nurses are needed now, more than ever before. A diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) occupies an essential position in the day to day care for patients and their families. With a rising number of people with diabetes, it is fundamental that we start training new specialist nurses.
Most diabetes specialist nurses are placed within hospitals, therefore their role can be diverse and must continue to adapt to the needs of patients, their families and the healthcare environment.
The main role of a DSN is the early identification of diabetes symptoms, such as testing patients’ blood glucose levels, urine, blood pressure and blood fats. After the diagnosis, it is important for a prompt and appropriate referral so the patient can receive the correct care.
Another crucial role for a DSN is disease management, after the patient has been diagnosed, the diabetes specialist must support the patient and their families through anything they may require. This may include providing them with information on the disease, assisting them through difficulties associated with the disease and helping with routine screening. They must also be able to provide fast access to treatment in an emergency situation.
How to Get Involved
A good way to become a specialist diabetes nurse, is to take an online nursing degree or program. Many universities offer the online RN to BSN degree (bachelor of science in nursing), this can prepare the student for a professional nursing job in the future.
These types of online nursing programs are amazingly flexible and can be worked around your current job or home life. They will provide you with up to date knowledge and skills to help you be able to give the best care possible, whilst gaining your nursing credential.
After gaining your bachelor of science in nursing degree you can then progress on to graduate degrees, either on campus or online. You take part in diabetes development programs and a variety of short courses, where you can specialize in the department of diabetes you wish to peruse.
Why Do We Need Specialist Diabetes Nurses?
Having specialist diabetes nurses means that this particular health area can be focused on more, therefore the care that patients require can evolve and be improved to what is needed. The health service, over time, will then be able to provide more information for the patient as they are specifically targeting diabetes.
Patients have easy access to a DSN, as they are able to contact them for assistance via phone. This means if there is an emergency, the patient is able to receive expert advice and a continuity of service.
Having specialist nurses also frees up the time of other members of staff, such as consultants. It also has a financial benefit; having specialist nurses who know what they are specifically looking for, can lead to an earlier identification of diabetes.
About 1 out of every 11 people in the USA has diabetes and the numbers keep going up. The expertise of diabetes specialist nurses is more important than ever before as having them leads to specialist one to one care and an earlier identification of diabetes.