World Diabetes Day celebrates nurses

Western Sydney Diabetes community diabetes nurse consultants Theresa Kang, Sian Bramwell and Sharon McClelland, who are based at Blacktown Hospital.

Western Sydney Diabetes is celebrating the crucial role nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes in western Sydney this World Diabetes Day.

This year’s theme for World Diabetes Day 2020 (November 14) is ‘The Nurse and Diabetes’. 

As the number of people with diabetes in Australia continues to increase, the role of nurses is becoming more important in helping to manage the impact of the condition.

Nurses play a key role in:

  • Identifying those at risk of diabetes and discussing risk prevention strategies;
  • Empowering people with diabetes with the knowledge and skills to self-manage their condition; and
  • Ongoing care and support, helping to prevent diabetes-related complications.
Clinical nurse consultant Bernadette Sadsad chats to a patient at Westmead Hospital.

Western Sydney Diabetes director Professor Glen Maberly said today is an ideal time to pay tribute to the work of nurses in the endocrine departments and diabetes clinics.

He said it is also a good opportunity to highlight the burden diabetes has on western Sydney – a diabetes hotspot with disease rates higher than the NSW average.

“Over the past four years, diabetes screening in general practices across Western Sydney Local Health District has identified 17% of patients with diabetes and 27% with pre-diabetes,” Prof Maberly said.

Western Sydney Diabetes is a collaborative initiative led by Western Sydney Local Health District and Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest) to address the Western Sydney diabetes hotspot.

  • Check out the new Western Sydney Diabetes Facebook page!
Community diabetes transitional nurse practitioner Ana Murugesan inserts a glucose monitor into a patient’s arm at the Mount Druitt Community Health Centre Diabetes Clinic.

Prof Maberly said if this ‘hotspot’ is not addressed, within a decade it will cause an unsustainable economic and societal burden on the state’s healthcare system.

“Western Sydney faces some daunting issues as the social determinants of health that promote healthy eating, active living and social inclusion are not working favourably to prevent diabetes and its progression,” he said.

Nurses Sian Bramwell and Sharon McClelland work as community diabetes nurse consultants for Western Sydney Diabetes, based at Blacktown Hospital, while Theresa Kang is a community diabetes nurse educator.

The WSD team also includes Bernadette Sadsad, a clinical nurse consultant at Westmead Hospital where she coordinates the HbA1c testing initiative, and Anandhi Murugesan, a community diabetes transitional nurse practitioner at the diabetes clinic at Mount Druitt Community Health Centre.

Ms Bramwell said she thoroughly enjoys working as a diabetes educator in western Sydney.

“I enjoy the multidisciplinary approach, with the patient firmly at the centre of management,” she said.

Ms Kang has more than 12 years’ experience as a credentialed diabetes educator and has been working as a Diabetes Detection and Management Strategy (DDMS) support nurse at Blacktown Hospital since April 2018.

“Diabetes is a chronic and complex disease that can lead to distress, anxiety, financial and health burden to patients with diabetes,” Ms Kang said.

“I am proud to be part of an innovative organisation that puts patient’s needs front and centre by raising disease awareness, prevention and strive to improve health outcomes.”

Ms McClelland said she has a particular passion in building the skills, capacity and knowledge of primary care nurses and other health professionals in western Sydney through education.

Ms Sadsad has more than 20 years of experience as a credentialed diabetes educator working both in an inpatient and outpatient settings.

“My role as a diabetes educator gives me a lot of satisfaction, as I am able to empower and support my patients by assisting them to gain knowledge, skills and confidence in managing their diabetes,” Ms Sadsad said.

“I am also able to work with them to set and meet behavioural change goals to achieve their optimal health and well-being.”

In her role, Ms Murugesan sees patients from various cultural and socio economic backgrounds struggling with the disease burden.

“I believe that the fundamental outcome in diabetes education is behaviour change and I enjoy the challenge of empowering patients with self-management skills and ensuring that their preferences and values are considered in the decision making process,” Ms Murugesan said.