Nationwide tour raises awareness of DSNs
A team of Diabetes Specialist Nurses have been flying the flag for their profession as part of a six-city tour of England.
The DSN Forum UK was launched last spring, with more than 1,000 professionals – mainly Diabetes Specialist Nurses but also midwives and dietitians – now members of its social media platforms.
The remit is to provide a platform to enable members to connect, share and grow their learning.
Amanda Epps, Adult Inpatient Diabetes Specialist Nurse at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, founded the group and the DSN Forum Faculty also includes fellow DSNs Sarah Gregory, Susan Mason-Cave, Bethany Kelly and Rebecca Watt.
Last week, the group held meeting in Cambridge, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton, and London, covering 800 miles as part its inaugural nationwide tour.
The tours aim was to increase awareness of the amazing work that diabetes specialists nurses, midwives and other allied healthcare professionals are doing all in the UK. Bethany Kelly
They met with more 140 healthcare professionals from paediatric, adult, midwifery and mental health backgrounds, from both community and acute inpatient settings. Discussions on every aspect of diabetes care took place, including, mental health, antenatal and postnatal midwifery care, genetic forms of diabetes, inpatient care community care and peer support.
Bethany Kelly, of Solent NHS Trust, said: “This week saw us undertake our first UK tour. Five nurses, one car, five hotels, thousands of pieces of paperwork, two banner stands and lots of enthusiasm. This idea was born from our very first meeting in Leicester nearly a year ago. It has been around eight months in planning, and a lot of hard work together, but it finally arrived.
“The tours aim was to increase awareness of the amazing work that diabetes specialists nurses, midwives and other allied healthcare professionals are doing all in the UK, and to also encourage recruitment into these posts.”
Everyone that came to speak was a specialist in diabetes and gave up their time for free.
Mary Hayes, a DSN at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, was involved with the Cambridge session. She said: “Diabetes Nurse Specialists can be super dedicated to the cause. For example, paying for MSc courses and attending in their own time, preparing and giving talks, attending evening meetings, the usual going the extra mile. But we have to ‘take our hat off’ to Amanda Epps, founder of the DSN forum and her forum team for the very first DSN Tour, driving, during her annual leave, around the country in her ‘Beetle’. She always says ‘we are just having fun’. She has brought people together, raised the profile of DSNs and provided an opportunity to share best practice. It was a pleasure and deeply rewarding to support her as team in organising the Cambridge session, all done in ‘spare time’ with no payments. We are ‘stronger together’ and we hope you all love your DSN.”
Talking about the successes of the forum so far, Bethany added: “The forum has allowed DSNs to share ideas, ask questions, learn and share best practice at the touch of a button. We are all now a family and help each other out, whereas before we perhaps were stuck to our own teams. We have featured blogs from all aspects of diabetes nursing, dietetics and midwifery. We now also write a newsletter every Sunday which is published to keep people up to date with what’s happened in the forum and diabetes news in general. We also won a Quality in Diabetes Care (QiC) Healthcare Professionals of the Year award last October for our efforts.”