Dialing Down Diabetes: A pilot study of a BSN- NP collaboration to improve chronic disease outcomes

Monday, 18 November 2013: 2:05 PM

Wendy R. Hobbs, BSN, RN
School of Nursing, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN
Kempa (Kim) French, MSN, FNP-BC
School of Nursing, Ausitn Peay State University, Clarksville, TN

Learning Objective 1: Describe an innovative collaboration between BSN students and nurse practitioners which includes phone call counseling, intensive diet and exercise session and written care reminders.

Learning Objective 2: Articulate 2 health benefits for participants and providers in the Dial Down Diabetes pilot study.

Background: Chronic illnesses, including diabetes and hypertension, continue to be a significant health problem in the U.S. The prevalence of diabetes in the American adult population is 8.3% (25.8 million) with 67% of those also affected by hypertension. Current literature supports preventing or delaying complications from diabetes and hypertension by sustained lifestyle changes in healthy diet choices and low impact exercise.  Do clients with diabetes and hypertension experience better control of their health conditions after receiving intensive health promotion interventions and follow-up from BSN nursing students?

Objectives: The aim of this pilot study was to determine if participants who were included as part of the “Dial Down Diabetes” project interventions had better control of their chronic illness than those who receive standard care.

Method:  The research was conducted using a quasi-experimental pre and post-intervention design. The convenience sample involved 10 participants referred by APSU nurse practitioners for student nurse follow-up and who attended the “Dial Down Diabetes” educational session.  The educational interventions included motivational health counseling through student phone calls, reinforcing healthier diet and exercise choices at a local grocery store, teaching pedometer use at the clinic and follow-up with written care goal reminders.  The goals were to increase client activity levels and change unhealthy dietary choices.

Results: Results suggested that clients who participated in the pilot study expressed positive perceptions of the student-led interventions to their providers, and trended towards better control of their hypertension and diabetes.  Blood pressure and HgA1c levels continue to be monitored by the nurse practitioners. 

Discussion: Based on the findings of this study, it seems logical for nursing students to partner in health care teams when implementing similar interventions to clients with diabetes and hypertension.  These collaborations should result in positive lifestyle changes which could potentially reduce complications and costs of chronic diseases.