Australian Rural Practice Nurses' (PN), Knowledge of and Beliefs about Diabetes Management

Monday, 30 July 2012: 2:15 PM

Robyne F. Livingston, RN, BaHSc, DNE, MN
School of Nursing, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia
Trisha Dunning, AM, RN, MEdn, PhD
Barwon Health, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand practice nursesí knowledge of diabetes management and give examples of factors which may influence practice.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify the benefits of using diabetes management information and an education framework for learning.

Purpose: Explore practice nurses working in general practice diabetes knowledge and their perceptions of diabetes education, to competently deliver diabetes care.

Methods: Self-administered questionnaires (N = 30) were distributed through the South Gippsland General Practice Alliance (GPA) Victoria, to collect data. A one shot cross-sectional survey of rural PN’s perceptions and beliefs about diabetes management was conducted in 2007 in central Victoria and replicated in 2009 on Phillip Island. GPA serves a population of farmers, members of fishing and tourism industries (n=9500).

Results: Seventeen practice nurses responded, two were diabetes nurse educators and six were enrolled (technical or community college trained) nurses, eleven were registered (baccalaureate) nurses. Age range 33–67 years, one was male. Most worked in private general practice, two in Community Health Centres, none had diabetes, and eight had family members with diabetes. The majority (11) were hospital trained, six had no postgraduate qualifications and seven had worked more than seven years as a practice nurse. Twelve had undertaken diabetes education, only two had attended diabetes screening education in the past twelve months and six had undertaken continuing diabetes education. Patient inability to learn and non-attendance at appointments were cited as key barriers to effective diabetes management and education. While fourteen participated in collaborative practice, twelve believed the team practised “shared care” with a diabetes specialist, all referred to the diabetes nurse educator, one mentioned a dietitian. Participants agreed regular diabetes complication screening procedures include monitoring blood pressure (7), blood glucose (3) and immunisation (1), none mentioned smoking. Most (12) agreed obesity was a key diabetes risk factor; one indicated cardiovascular disease was a diabetes risk factor. Most believed they were competent to assess self-care practices, fourteen lacked confidence to assess medication management.

Conclusion: Practice nurse's diabetes knowledge to enable them to competently deliver diabetes care may be limited.