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Diabetes management in the primary care setting

Launch of new online diabetes education program for Practice Nurses set to enhance Australian diabetes management

The Australian Practice Nurses Association and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) have launched a new online education program, ‘Diabetes Management in the Primary Care Setting’.

The aim of the online program is to promote best practice diabetes education by improving the knowledge and understanding of diabetes amongst registered and enrolled nurses currently providing diabetes care and management in the primary care setting. The program was funded by an educational grant from MSD.

Diabetes Management in the Primary Care Setting covers topics from pathophysiology, prevention and detection of diabetes to practical information to assist practice nurses help patients understand the role of nutrition, physical activity and exercise in diabetes management and care.

The total number of Australians currently living with diabetes and pre-diabetes is estimated to be 3.2 million, and 275 Australians develop diabetes every day.

“In an environment where the increased incidence and prevalence of diabetes is causing a rapid rise in the demand for diabetes services, strengthening the primary care setting has the potential to improve access to quality diabetes education and care,” said Clair Matthews, executive director of the ADEA.

“This new online education program may help to enhance referral pathways as nurses will gain an understanding of when and how to refer patients onto a diabetes educator,” she said.

General practice nursing is the fastest growing area within the healthcare sector and covers many areas of nursing practice. With the focus on the primary health care sector, general practice nurses are increasingly exerting a critical role in delivering continuous care to their patients, resulting in improved health outcomes.

“Practice nurses are now an important part of primary care and collaborate with members of the general practice team in managing a range of chronic diseases – yet there are limited resources and funding to allow nurses to add to their credentials,” said Belinda Caldwell, chief executive officer of the Australian Practice Nurses Association.

“One of the highlights of Diabetes Management in the Primary Care Setting is that it allows nurses to complete the course online and in their own time, without having to attend lectures after work,” she explained.

The online education program is separated into two units, with each unit consisting of various modules.

Unit One: Introduction to Diabetes, has been designed for those who aim to update or increase their basic diabetes and diabetes management knowledge. This unit will provide the learner with a basic understanding of the disease and its impact on patients and the community. It will also provide an understanding of the diabetes specific knowledge needed to deliver quality care to diabetes patients and their carers as well as identify when to refer patients with more complex diabetes care requirements.

Unit Two: Supporting People Living with Diabetes, has been designed to provide more detailed knowledge about specific situations and individual circumstances that influence diabetes care and management goals for different population groups. This unit is aimed at those who have an active role in the diabetes care team and provides knowledge on how to individualise basic diabetes care and management.

In addition to the online modules, the education program also features offline assessment tasks. The first unit of the course is now available, whilst enrolment in unit 2 will commence shortly after. The course will take approximately 20-25 hours to complete.

The course has been developed by ADEA with content reviewed by APNA to ensure it is grounded in the practice context experienced by nurses in the primary care sector.

For more information about Diabetes Management in the Primary Care Setting or to enrol in the course, visit APNA Online Learning at www.apna.asn.au/onlinelearning.

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