Reinvigorating the Role of the Primary Health Care Nurse in Diabetes Care in Country SA

Ms Noelene Cooper1, Ms Inara Beecher1

1Country SA PHN , Torrensville, Australia


South Australia is slightly higher than the national percentage with 5.6% of the population estimated to have diabetes. The proportion of the population who have diabetes increases with age.  Diabetes complications accounted for 1,236 potentially preventable hospital admissions for Country SA residents in 2015-2016, and 1,218 in 2014-2015 . Diabetes related lower limb amputation (DRLLA) rates have worsened in Australia in the last 20 years. In 2015 the DRLLA rate for SA rose to 40/100000 . Like all chronic disease, early detection and management of symptoms with diabetes will reduce the costly personal and financial expense of complications .

Country SA PHN (CSAPHN) formed a partnership with Country Health SA Local Health Network (CHSALHN) Diabetes Service to re-invigorate PHC support and deliver primary health care (PHC) nurse education around diabetes and its management. CSAPHN was keen to initially focus on getting the best out of the diabetes annual cycle of care system.  PHC nurses continue to have an integral role in team-based care processes, including motivational interviewing, education activities and support for lifestyle modification of people with type 2 diabetes .

CSAPHN and CHSALHN Diabetes Service developed an education package for rural PHC nurses to support them in caring for diabetes patients at any point on the care continuum from diagnosis to amputation.  In developing the package there was wide ranging consultation including involvement from both Diabetes Educators and PHC nurses. The resulting education package was accredited via APNA.

Four one-day workshops were scheduled for PHC Nurses in late 2017. The workshops are delivered by Diabetes Nurse Educators located in country SA in partnership with practice support/digital health staff of CSAPHN.

CSAPHN are working with CHSALHN Diabetes Service to determine locations to further rollout the education in more locations in 2018 and next steps for the partnership.


Noelene Cooper CSAPHN Project Manager has worked in health for thirty years including; Pharmacy, General Practice, Divisions of General Practice and Medicare Locals. Noelene has a Diploma in Population Health and manages the After Hours Program and the Chronic Pain Management Project.
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