Changing the face of diabetes care for the UK at Leeds Met
Fifteen students from across the UK have enrolled on the two-year, part-time MSc Advanced Diabetes Educator (Children, Young People and Families) Course.
MSc students with the academic team (front row from R-L Sheonagh Clarke, Liz Webster, Professor Karin Lange & Dr Kasia Zinken and back row far left Dr Nicky Kime)
The course, which includes one week of students imitating the day-to-day routine of a person with type 1 diabetes as part of the training, is designed for health professionals working with children and young people with diabetes as well as learning how to provide first class care, self-management education and on-going support for families. The course was developed from a well-established Certified Diabetes Educator course in Germany which launched in 2008, and builds on previous research across the EU, specifically the Social Work Experience Education and Training (SWEET) project (2010) which is committed to raising the standards of care for children and young people across the European Union.
Course Leader Liz Webster and Dr Nicky Kime, a Senior Research Fellow at Leeds Met - which on 22 September will become Leeds Beckett University - developed the course with national clinical and key healthcare professional education leads. They include: Dr Fiona Campbell a Consultant Paediatrician at Leeds Children's Hospital, part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; one of Europe's leading psychologists in diabetes, Professor Karin Lange who is Head of the Department of Medical Psychology at Hannover Medical School in Germany, and her colleague Dr Kasia Zinken - a Lecturer in Medical Psychology. Professor Lange was one of the founded members of the equivalent course in Germany, on which the MSc's principles and philosophical framework is based.
Liz commented: "Germany is widely considered to have one of the best diabetes healthcare frameworks in the world for children and young people and has over 2600 qualified Certified Diabetes Educators specifically trained in the management and care of diabetes. The UK at present does not have a recognised accredited, structured education programme starting at diagnosis and continuing throughout childhood, adolescence and transition into adult services. The course is a key outcome of the National Paediatric Diabetes Service Improvement Plan 2013-2018. Launching this course could be a step towards making a difference to the quality of care for children and young people with diabetes and their families in the UK.
"Our 15 students are all healthcare professionals, many of them travelling a distance to Leeds from areas around the UK each week to undertake the course. One student is making the weekly trip from Kent! While some are self-funded, the majority are being funded to do the course by the Yorkshire and the Humber Local Education Training Boards (LETB) in collaboration with the North East and North West LETBs in recognition of the need to further upskill this specialist workforce."
Professor Lange, said: "I developed the course in Germany and hope that this course here at Leeds Met will help bring more structure to diabetes care in the UK, as structure is currently missing. There are some new developments in diabetes care, especially for children and one has to find a way to implement it into the national healthcare system. The framework of this course has the potential to be used throughout Europe."
Marita Neville, who works as a dietitian for Barts Health NHS Trust in London works full time with children and young people with diabetes. She said: "I am self-funding the first module of the course and I am actively seeking funding support so I can complete at least another stage of the course, as I believe it would be invaluable to the children I treat and their families. I feel this course should be available to all health care professionals across the UK and not just in the north of England. The course really focuses on educating the children, young people and their families. Being able to do this properly in the early stages of their diagnosis is absolutely vital."
(L-R) Dr Zinken & Prof Lange teaching students on the"MSc Advanced Diabetes Educator course which launched this week.
The course got underway on Monday 7 September with five days of intensive teaching in diabetes specific child psychology by Professor Lange and Dr Zinken. There are four students undertaking this module who are also child psychologists working with children and young people with diabetes in the north of England who are working with Professor Lange and Dr Zinken to advance their expertise in this field and support the future sustainability of the course.
Sheonagh Clarke, who has a young daughter with type 1 diabetes has joined the teaching team to share her knowledge and experiences as a parent. She explained: "My role is to provide students with the parents' point of view and work in partnership with the LETB to develop an evaluation tool to enable us to measure the impact and value of the course for children, young people and their families."
Liz added: "The number of children and young people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the UK is on the rise. This course enables students to develop and advance their expertise as educators to communicate complex clinical, psychosocial and dietetic information to children, young people and families who have very diverse needs which are constantly changing as children grow and develop. They will also learn to adopt a holistic approach to the care and support of children, young people and families, with a focus on how diabetes affects them socially, physically and mentally. They will learn the importance of placing the family at the centre of care and become an expert in enabling families to incorporate practical self-management skills into their everyday lives."
It is a requirement that students should have a health-related degree and be working in a children's diabetes centre, in a Specialist Practitioner role. All students must also have a Nursing & Midwifery Council first level registration (Child) or Health & Care Professions Council registration as a dietitian or psychologist; or recognised professional registration in their home country if not from the UK.