Reflective accounts

Overview of diabetes

A CPD article improved Rosalind Ponomarenko-Jones’s knowledge of the pathophysiology, symptoms and diagnosis of diabetes
Woman self-administers pin prick test

A CPD article improved Rosalind Ponomarenko-Joness knowledge of the pathophysiology, symptoms and diagnosis of diabetes

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article provided an overview of diabetes, including its classification, the pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, predisposing factors and symptoms of the condition.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

From reading the article, I learned that the number of people with diabetes has risen rapidly worldwide and this trend is projected to continue. The rise is related to the wider availability of processed, high-energy foods and a reduction in physical activity. This has led to higher levels of obesity, which is associated with type 2 diabetes.

The article stated that in the

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A CPD article improved Rosalind Ponomarenko-Jones’s knowledge of the pathophysiology, symptoms and diagnosis of diabetes


Photo: Getty

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article provided an overview of diabetes, including its classification, the pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, predisposing factors and symptoms of the condition.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

From reading the article, I learned that the number of people with diabetes has risen rapidly worldwide and this trend is projected to continue. The rise is related to the wider availability of processed, high-energy foods and a reduction in physical activity. This has led to higher levels of obesity, which is associated with type 2 diabetes.

The article stated that in the past, people with diabetes were categorised according to age and treatment, whereas now the terms type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are considered more appropriate classifications.

Type 1 diabetes results from an autoimmune assault on the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, and most commonly occurs in children and young people. The article discussed three predisposing factors for type 1 diabetes: genetics, environmental factors and co-existent autoimmunity.

In the UK, most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and a majority are or have been obese. Type 2 diabetes occurs as a result of insulin resistance, in which insulin production decreases because of beta cell failure. There are several predisposing factors for type 2 diabetes, including genetics, lifestyle, ethnicity and age.

Diagnostic tests for diabetes include a glycated haemoglobin blood test, fasting plasma glucose test and a two-hour plasma glucose or oral tolerance glucose test.

How did you change or improve your practice?

The article improved my understanding of diabetes, including the causes, classification and diagnosis of the condition. It provided information about signs and symptoms that I will use if patients are experiencing symptoms that might indicate undiagnosed diabetes. These include polyuria, polydipsia, glycosuria, weight loss, lethargy, ketonuria (pear-drop breath), blurred vision, skin infections and genital soreness. I will ensure further investigations are undertaken if these symptoms are present. The knowledge I have gained from reading the article will enable me to provide enhanced support and care to patients with diabetes.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

The Code states that nurses must promote well-being and prevent ill health, as part of the theme of prioritising people. The knowledge I have gained from reading the article will prompt me to promote healthy eating and exercise to patients to reduce the risk of diabetes.

Another theme of The Code is to practise effectively. I will ensure any advice or information I give about diabetes is evidence-based, and I will continue to ensure I have the knowledge and skills necessary for safe and effective practice.

The information in the article is also relevant to the theme of preserving safety, because it will support me to assess the signs of normal or deteriorating physical health in relation to diabetes, and to make timely and appropriate referrals to other healthcare practitioners if necessary.

Rosalind Ponomarenko-Jones is a gynaecology staff nurse at Princess Royal Hospital, Telford


This reflective account is based on NS852 Mayo P (2016) An overview of diabetes. Nursing Standard. 30, 46, 53-60. These questions are the same as those on the NMC templates that UK nurses and midwives must use for revalidation

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