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New initiatives discussed at diabetes symposium.

Around 100 nurses attended last month's diabetes nurse specialist (DNS) symposium in Wellington. The two days included case studies and some interactive sessions on how to get the message across to our audience. We need to be looking at advertising and branding our messages. We finished the day with a workshop on how we could make a difference. One message, particularly focused on children, was to encourage them to drink more water. The importance of health literacy was discussed and how this can affect the messages we portray.

Chairperson of the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Association, Margaret Nicholls, who has two children with CF, discussed the link between diabetes and CF. Endocrinologist Jeremy Krebs gave an inspiring talk about the work being done at Capital and Coast District Health Board (DHB) and the initiatives being rolled out to replace the Get Checked programme.

Guest speaker, Minister of Health Tony Ryall, commented on the priority the government gives to diabetes as one of its six national health targets, the diabetes care improvement programme, and action on unhealthy weight, including a new emphasis on maternal and new-born nutrition. He also discussed the roll out of the second stage of the diabetes nurse specialist project, with 20 more nurses working across six sites expected to participate this year. The Get Checked programme was being replaced by a localised, integrated approach between DHBs and primary care. "Capital and Coast DHB aims to have 80 per cent of general practices in their area receiving direct diabetes nurse specialist support by the end of the year," Ryall said.

Symposium attendees discussed DNS accreditation, with a focus on assessing, moderation and mentoring. The new diabetes knowledge and skills e-learning platform was displayed for primary health care nurses and this will be freely available by the end of the year. The symposium ended with a session on the role of the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring and how we should document problems with drugs.

Focus on children at study day

The Greater Wellington diabetes team hosted a valuable study day before the symposium. Capital and Coast DHB clinical nurse specialist (CNS) Gilli Lewis took a comprehensive developmental approach to issues for pre-school and school-age children, while Hutt Valley DHB CNS Tracy Paddock applied the adolescent health assessment tool HEADSS to children at intermediate/secondary school. Both nurses agreed it was essential to talk about diabetes in neutral terms, with a non-shame/non-blame approach.

It is never too late to improve glycaemic control and prevent complications. Hutt Valley DHB paediatrician Priscilla Campbell-Stokes rewarded the nurses for correct answers during her interactive session on complications.

The issue of Type 2 diabetes in teenagers was highlighted by Capital and Coast DHB CNS Kirsty Newton, who presented a thorough literature review and case study. All services needed to prepare for an expected increase in the numbers of young people coming through with Type 2 diabetes, she said.

Reports by Auckland CNS Kate Smallman and Nelson CNS Pauline Tout

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Author:Smallman, Kate; Tout, Pauline
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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