My job

60 seconds with diabetes specialist nurse Tracey Curtis 

The best lesson nursing has taught me is to live life to the full, says diabetes specialist nurse Tracey Curtis

The best lesson nursing has taught me is to live life to the full, says diabetes specialist nurse Tracey Curtis

Tracey Curtis returned to nursing
because she missed making a
difference on the front line.

Tracey Curtis qualified as a nurse in 1986 at St Bartholomew’s School of Nursing in London. She has been in her current post as diabetes specialist nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust for the past three years after completing a return-to-practice course in 2015. Prior to this, she spent 18 years working in diabetes publishing, including a year on the Cochrane Library.

What are your main work responsibilities?

I work two days a week on inpatient diabetes in the hospital, one a day a week in outpatients running a diabetes renal clinic, and two days a week in diabetes research. I also lead on the perioperative management of diabetes.

How did you get your job?

I gained as much exposure to diabetes care as possible during my return-to-practice course, and developed a relationship with the diabetes centre to demonstrate my keenness in case a job became available.

Who are your clients/patients?

Any hospital inpatients with diabetes, or staff who need advice or support in managing diabetes.

What do you love about your job?

The patients.

What do you find most difficult?

NHS bureaucracy and the significant lack of funding in the NHS, which should not be used as a political football. The health service should have a long-term plan with funding to match.

How to administer an insulin injection

What is your top priority at work?

Enabling patients to improve their quality of life through glycaemic management, and keeping patients safe while in hospital.

How have you developed your skills in this role?

Working with and learning through people who have diabetes – they are the experts – and good peer support and having an inspirational nurse lead.

What has been your most formative career experience?

Leaving nursing for publishing and recognising that I missed making a difference on the front line.

If you hadn’t become a nurse, what would you have done instead?

Become a politician so I could help bring fairness to society.

What will be your next career move?

My specialism is diabetes and I always want to be patient-focused. My nurse leader is also the clinical director for the centre. If this role became available, I might brush up my CV.

What is the best lesson nursing has taught you?

Live life to the full.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

To maintain my registration and return to nursing earlier than I did.


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