Investigation reveals ‘confusing’ array of diabetes nursing job titles

Wide variation in job names, with ‘nurses’ below band 5, prompts call for standardisation

Wide variation in job names, with some ‘nurses’ below band 5, prompts call for standardisation

Debbie Hicks, co-chair of TREND-UK, which represents diabetes nursing groups
Debbie Hicks, co-chair of TREND-UK, which represents diabetes nursing groups

An audit has revealed there are more than 100 different job titles in use for nurses in diabetes care in England, prompting calls for an end to ‘confusing’ role names.

The investigation into diabetes specialist nurse numbers also revealed that dozens of staff at grades below band 5 – the minimum band for a registered nurse – have the word ‘nurse’ in their job title.

When a ‘diabetes nurse’ is not a registered nurse

TREND-UK, an organisation that represents diabetes nursing groups, used a freedom of information request to ask clinical commissioning groups, hospital trusts and mental health trusts in England about diabetes nursing roles.

It found a total of 1,872 staff in England with nursing titles dedicated to diabetes care.

Of these, 1,831 were registered nurses at band 5 or above, but 41 were in roles below band 5.

The audit also uncovered wide variation in job titles. Diabetes specialist nurse was the most common, accounting for 56% of nurses in these roles; diabetes nurse and diabetes inpatient specialist nurse each accounted for around 10%; and diabetes nurse educator for just under 2%.

Another 113 job titles collectively accounted for the remaining 21%. 

Nursing Standard’s image of nursing survey – have your say on the impact of job titles

Patient expectation about the level of care they will receive

TREND-UK has called for two job titles to be standardised across NHS England: a band 6 diabetes specialist nurse and a band 7 senior diabetes specialist nurse.

The organisation’s co-chair, Debbie Hicks, said streamlining job titles would benefit patients and employers.

‘Diabetes specialist nurses support individuals with complex diabetes problems, as well as advising and educating other non-specialist healthcare professionals in the management of the condition,’ she said. ‘However, there are currently too many titles, leading to confusion.

‘How do people with diabetes know what level of care to expect when there are so many different job titles?’

TREND-UK said diabetes specialist nurses should meet basic competencies as part of an appraisal and undertake diploma-level modules, while new senior diabetes specialist nurses should be required to have a non-medical prescribing qualification and be willing to undertake a master’s degree.

NHS England was contacted for comment.

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