DSN Spotlight – Nneka Agbasi
The role of the diabetes specialist nurse is hugely important in ensuring high-quality diabetes care. Our DSN Spotlight series celebrates this great position and also aims to find out more about those who are making a difference to people with diabetes every day.
We caught up with Nneka Agbasi, who was at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference.
Job title: Senior diabetes specialist nurse
Trust: Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust
Time in position: Since 2013
Why did you come to the conference?
I wanted to learn more about diabetes, my colleagues have attended and shared their knowledge but I am glad to be here.
What’s your biggest challenge in diabetes today?
The population of people living with diabetes is increasing, this has an impact on our increasing workload. Another big challenge we often face is people are struggling to manage their diabetes because of their busy lifestyles.
What’s been your biggest achievement in diabetes care?
I have been able to mentor district nurses into becoming DSNs via using a structured pathway through the secondment pathway. I have also recently completed a project in teaching care home staff how to administer insulin under the supervision of senior nurses in the community.
What would you like to see change in diabetes?
Healthcare professionals are working well together to deliver better diabetes care, however the population of diabetes is currently growing. I would like to see more nurses become DSNs. I would like to see more diabetes education for health care assistants, home carers and care home staff as they are on the front line delivering care to patients and other carers. There is definitely a gap in knowledge, providing education to these groups of people would improve their confidence in delivering better diabetes care, such as managing hypoglycaemia, instead of calling an ambulance or knowing when to escalate issues.
I would also like to see more support for staff and community nurses to enable them to provide supervisory roles to the HCAs and carers.
What’s been the biggest development in the last 10 years?
The education for type 2 diabetes has hugely improved, however, more people are being diagnosed which is putting more pressure on delivering the education. Diabetes care is more individualised. But one of the biggest advances is the social media awareness and technologies in diabetes e.g apps that provide blood glucose monitoring, diet and lifestyle.
What is the best way to achieve good health outcomes with your patients?
Empowering patients to self-manage their diabetes. Sign-posting them to individualised relevant information and support. It’s a life-long condition and people need to know how they can look after their health. We need more DSNs trained to do all specialties in diabetes care. We need healthcare professionals and carers to keep themselves up-to-date in diabetes care and finally to continue to improve individualised care in diabetes.