Insulin is one of the top ten high-alert medications worldwide. Approximately 30% of people with diabetes in the UK use injectable therapies, most commonly insulin, to manage their condition. With an increasing number of people with diabetes being managed within the community, district nurses play an important role in the safe and effective use of insulin. This study surveyed a convenience sample of 164 district nurses working within one Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland to ascertain their knowledge and practice regarding insulin. Study response rate was 38% (n=63). It was found that district nurses’ knowledge and practice relating to insulin therapy was lacking as indicated by a total mean score of 53.1%. Total knowledge scores were slightly higher (58%) than total practice scores (46%). Nevertheless, 79.4% of district nursesfelt secure and 6.3% felt very secure in managing diabetes. Deficits in district nurses’ knowledge and practice were identified in areas relating to insulin action, dosage, storage, injection site technique and rotation, hypoglycaemic/hyperglycaemic management, pharmacological actionand prescription format. These deficits highlight the need for workplace-based learning and development programmes, incorporating real time, point of care interventions, to enhance and maintain district nurses’ insulin knowledge and practice.
- community nurse
- district nurse