Scots and Swedes unite online to discuss pre-diabetes

Thu, 17 Jun 2021 16:19:00 BST
(Pictured above) 90 District Nurses speaking over a three hour Zoom call
(Pictured above) 90 District Nurses speaking over a three hour Zoom call

A student has spoken of her delight at being part of a collaboration focusing on prediabetes with a Swedish University. 

Frances Deeney was one of 90 District Nursing students involved in a three-hour Zoom session, bringing together students from GCU and University WestTrollhättan. 

She explained more around the background and why she wanted to get involved. Frances said: “Our lecturer, Helena Kelly played a key role in setting this all up for us and it was a great experience for everyone involved.  

The focus was on prediabetes - which is basically when patients start to show symptoms of the disease. The hope is that you can get in quick enough to prevent actual diabetes from occurring. The good thing about the condition being discovered is that it doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to become diabetic – you can avoid it through some lifestyle changes with exercise and healthy eating, which can make a massive difference. 

She added: “I just thought it would be really interesting to hear a variation of perspectives, as well as the similarities and differences in how things work in our countries. 

Before the session we watched a video by Amanda Kennan, who’s an experienced nurse and has been doing some sessions with us. She basically explained a bit of background to prediabetes as most of our focus had previously just been on diabetes. It was definitely beneficial for us having that knowledge heading into the session.” 

Those involved had the opportunity to join break-out rooms, which facilitated discussion around the healthcare landscape in Scotland and Sweden. 

Frances explained: “I was actually quite surprised to learn that diabetes is a big problem in Sweden. The numbers are similar to Scotland and that’s with us almost recognised as the ‘sick man of Europe’. It was really interesting to hear about that because I think our perception is that they have quite a healthy lifestyle.  

They pay for prescriptions and also to see their GP - whereas we obviously don’t - however there are a lot more diabetic nurses and quicker clinic appointments in Sweden.  

We wait longer here to see a specialist but have specific programmes in place to address the issue, such as free weight management. Overall though, Sweden still has the longer life expectancy.” 

She added: “actually particularly liked how everyone was talking about holistic care and looking at the whole person and how you can have an impact on them, while also listening to the patient’s ideas and what their expectations are. In order to get people to concur with what we want them to do then they have to buy into that – it’s very much a team effort.” 

Despite being unable to connect in person, Frances was delighted that she got the opportunity to interact virtually and felt the session highlighted the similarities between nurses around the world.  

She said: “It was really encouraging to see everyone’s passion for this topic and to have that chance to share good practice.  

It doesn’t matter where nurses are from, they always click with each other. There’s just that connection there because of that enthusiasm for making a difference.” 


By Ross Clark 

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