Nurses at the Port-of- Spain General Hospital.

The role of nurses in the fight against diabetes is at the fore of this year’s World Diabetes Awareness Day observance.

Themed: Diabetes: Nurses Make the Difference, the celebration places emphasis on nurses critical involvement in the prevention and management of diabetes.

Joining the world in recognition of these key medical professionals, the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) president, Idi Stuart, said Nursing was a calling and a true passion to serve.

He added as critical thinkers and patient advocates, a nurse in the community was someone people sought after for advice.

Stuart said although mainstream media had been largely focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people around the globe, including healthcare professionals were directly affected by diabetes.

Speaking on the various roles nurses play in their profession Stuart illustrated, working alongside a multidisciplinary team, nurses were also educators, counsellors, and managers, equipped with keen eyes and trained to observe changes in a patient’s condition.

He said the nurse spends the most time with a patient at the hospital than any other team member. And at most, nursing staff was often the first health professional someone with diabetes met at a clinic or hospital.

“A nurse can be the difference between a compliant client who copes well, keeps appointments, takes medication if required, maintains dietary restrictions, keeps active, seeks urgent care when required, or a person who throws their hand in the air and abandons care,” said Stuart.

He noted, in the community at the primary health level, there were clinics in each district where qualified diabetes nurse educators worked alongside the district health visitors, coordinating clinics, and reaching community needs. While people requiring secondary or emergency care at a hospital, were in the capable hands of specially trained diabetic nurse educators at each regional health institution.

Stuart congratulated the Diabetes Association of T&T (DATT), and other organisations and NGOs for their steady work in diabetes awareness in T&T. And said many nurses also did yeoman service through such bodies.

He said TTRNA continued to push for the nurse practitioner to be allowed to set up practice and supported the expanded role of diabetic nurses, through appropriate training and certification, to become diabetic nurse practitioners.

“This year 2020, has been designated the year of the nurse and midwife by The International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organisation (WHO). We take this opportunity to salute the nurses and midwives of our beloved nation and thank them wholeheartedly for their service to our nation,” Stuart said.