Children with diabetes are the victims of nurse shortages. This was reported last year by Diabetes UK and I wanted to revisit it because of the increased risk on the diabetic kids when it comes to hypoglycemic events and long term complications like kidney failure, amputation and blindness because of the shortage in PDSNs (pediatric diabetes specialist nurses).
After doing an extensive research on this issue, I found that the nurse shortage is still real. Special mention however, must be made on a study that concluded the PDSN has an important role in educating the children with diabetes as well as their parents and others who take care of them.
This key role is not substantiated by the overloaded assignments of the nurses. In England, they look after more than 150 children. This is double than the number of the recommended 70 in order to be able to do a good job. The large number of caseload these nurses have to do will not allow enough time to do everything that has to be done.
Just gathering the data alone on where each kid is at, takes time. Then putting all the data together to arrive at the necessary steps to improve the condition takes time too. Then they have to teach these kids, their parents and those who care for them how to manage the diabetes in a most effective manner.
Each child is different and has therefore his own needs. These individual needs have to be addressed and should be given attention as to the individualized support and advice needed for optimum benefit. It is clear that getting such a huge caseload will not meet the needs of the children with diabetes.
The report shows that the caseload of the PDSN has risen since 2007. In fact, less than 7% of PCTs have improved the caseload. This is not right when one considers that over 80% of children with diabetes have not been able to achieve the blood glucose level that is recommended.
This fact should be considered as a priority. These specialist nurses play a key role in the management and care and without them, these children are going to suffer. Let us therefore hear the cry of those who need this badly so we can help our future generation among these children with diabetes.