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A diabetes nursing qualification is being established in England to standardise the qualities needed for nurses specialising in the condition, The Diabetes Times has learned.

NHS England has given its backing to the scheme being put forward by leading nursing organisation TREND-UK (Training, Research and Education for Nurses in Diabetes-UK).

Debbie Hicks, Jill Hill and June James, the co-chairs of TREND-UK, want the role to have a clearer definition and for a single foundation diabetes specialist qualification to be made available, as is currently available in Northern Ireland.

This is because at the moment there is no qualification available for a diabetes specialist nurse, which means anyone within the field of nursing could potentially become one.

The trio of senior nurses have already met with Diabetes UK and representatives from Leicester and Swansea universities to discuss the next step. All parties are working together to create a position statement on the subject to be released later this year.

Progress has already been made as NHS England has identified what the role of a DSN should look like and how it differs to the job of a practice nurse, but work still needs to be done in a bid to persuade the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to back the idea.

Nursing begins with a period of preceptor-ship, which is a transition phase designed to help newly registered nurses to further develop their practice. It covers fundamental competencies in patient care as well as broad skills in leadership, management, teaching and communication. A career as an adult nurse will suit you if you have a caring, practical nature and enjoy improving the quality of life of others around you

Adult nurses care for adult patients who are suffering from a variety of health conditions, ranging from minor injuries and ailments, to acute and long-term illnesses and diseases. They support recovery by using care plans, carrying out care procedures and assessments, and evaluating and focusing on the needs of the patient rather than the illness or condition.

Nurses usually work within a multidisciplinary team but are the main point of contact for patients, often providing the most continuity of care. They will have contact with the patients’ families, particularly in cases of chronic illness where the patient may be returning regularly for treatment.

After successfully completing this, you can begin to progress through various different roles, including:

  • senior staff nurse
  • junior sister
  • ward sister
  • nurse practitioner
  • nurse consultant.

All nurses have management roles, but some career paths are more management-orientated than others. As you become more senior, you may have less hands-on nursing responsibility.

Progression to roles such as ward sister, ward manager and team leader depends on the development of management skills and level of specialist knowledge. You may then progress either within a clinical specialism up to posts such as nurse consultant, or through further managerial responsibility as a matron and then up the executive ladder to a director of nursing post.

For more information on possible career pathways see the NHS Careers in nursing resource.

There are many specialist branches of adult nursing, and you can choose to undertake further training in order to specialise in an area of interest. Popular roles include:

  • accident and emergency nurse
  • cancer nurse
  • district nurse
  • intensive care nurse
  • occupational health nurse
  • practice nurse
  • sexual health nurse
  • specialist nurse.

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