DSN Spotlight – Ashley Jessop
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.
Job title: Diabetes Specialist Nurse
Trust: Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
Time in position: Three years
What’s your biggest challenge in diabetes today?
Diabetes is growing in incidence in the UK nationally; the biggest challenge recently in South Kent Coast is the demand on the service and difficulties in recruiting Diabetes Specialist Nurses. What’s more the acute trust which we support has similarly been un- successful in recruiting a diabetologist as a result the DSN team have received little or no clinical support at consultant level.
What’s been your biggest achievement in diabetes care?
Studying towards the MSc in Diabetes at Leicester of University and having successfully completed three modules is a personal achievement. I believe that having a specialist academic qualification will enhance the service and provide initiatives for reviewing evidence-based research to ensure service delivery meets the needs of the population. The course has enabled my confidence to grow in decision making ensuring best practice.
My biggest achievement in diabetes care has been a recent quality initiative that I have been involved in within my locality. The Community Medicine Referral form (CMRF) has allowed collaboration between myself and the pharmacy technician. Instead of making suggestions to the GP to titrate insulin for an individual requiring third-party intervention (district nurses) via a buff form, the DSN can set blood glucose targets and insulin titration guidance and the pharmacy technician titrates accordingly without GP input. This has proved to be a great success and has led to improvements in glycaemic control more hastily. Long-term conditions require partnership, rather than single unconnected episodes of care. Services need to be integrated around the patient providing value for money and unsurpassed experiences for the patient.
What would you like to see change in diabetes?
I would like to see the end of the ‘postcode lottery’, it is quite upsetting to see vulnerable people in South Kent Coast pay for expensive medical needs such as the FreeStyle Libre – continuous glucose monitoring system. I would like to see all NHS patients treated the same regardless to where they live.
Secondly. I would like first aid courses to raise awareness and incorporate diabetes into first aid sessions, the prevalence of diabetes is on the increase and discussing hypoglycaemia is valuable.
What’s been the biggest development in the last 10 years?
The biggest development that I have seen since joining the service is the continuous blood glucose monitor – FreeStyle Libre. This has enabled both individuals living with diabetes and healthcare professionals to look for trends more readily.
The second generation basal analogues have also been a big development in the last ten years, reducing daily injections, simplify regimens and helping with compliance in certain groups, which are all encouraging.
What is the best way to achieve good health outcomes with your patients?
Finding out what is important to the patient and what they expect from their episode of care is central to achieve positive outcomes. Setting realistic goals and being non-judgmental is pivotal to the role of the DSN.