• education;
  • childhood diabetes;
  • paediatric diabetes specialist nurse;
  • teaching methods and approaches;
  • teaching tools and materials

The paediatric diabetes specialist nurse and diabetes education in childhood

Aims of the study.  The aim of this study was to identify the job title, work setting, qualifications and training of the paediatric diabetes specialist nurse (PDSN) as well as to examine the composition of the multidisciplinary diabetes team. It also aimed to determine who is involved in diabetes education and to explore the teaching methods, approaches, tools and materials that the PDSN uses in the educational process.

Design and methods.  A survey design was used. Questionnaires, which combined quantitative and qualitative approaches, were sent to 80 participants from eight opportunistically selected regions of the United Kingdom (UK). Access to names and addresses was gained through the directory of diabetes specialist nurses (DSNs). The selection criteria were nurses working full-time with children with diabetes or having children with diabetes on their caseloads. The overall response rate was 66 (82·5%).

Findings.  The study findings showed that the majority of the respondents were based in both hospital and community, held paediatric qualifications and had undertaken further training to prepare as diabetes specialists. Respondents used a wide range of teaching methods and materials in the educational process. A substantial number of individuals and voluntary organizations were also involved in diabetes education.

Conclusions.  The findings of this study support the belief that the PDSN, as a member of the multidisciplinary paediatric diabetes team, has a key role in the education of children with diabetes and their parents/carers. However, the importance of the team approach as a whole should not be underestimated.