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Volume 14 Supplement 1

Improving access to healthcare

  • Keynote presentation
  • Open Access

The genetic diabetic nurse: transforming diabetes care

BMC Nursing201514 (Suppl 1) :K1

  • Published:


  • Public Health
  • Health Care
  • Single Gene
  • Clinical Care
  • Health Care Professional

Monogenic diabetes (diabetes caused by a change in a single gene) accounts for around 2% of all diabetes but is not well recognised and is initially misdiagnosed in 80-90% of cases. This frequently leads to inappropriate treatment and advice including unnecessary use of insulin injections. This presentation illustrates how nursing research has increased our understanding of the impact of a genetic diagnosis of diabetes and treatment change from insulin injections to sulphonylurea tablets for individuals and their families.

Rapid advances in genetic technology have resulted in the identification of 30 genes causing monogenic diabetes. Identifying a means of effectively translating these genetic findings into diabetes clinical care was clearly needed. Training experienced Diabetes Specialist Nurses as Genetic Diabetes Nurses across the UK has increased awareness and recognition of monogenic diabetes, leading to improvements in clinical care. The role of the Genetic Diabetes Nurse, in the education of other health care professionals and aiding identification of patients with monogenic diabetes, and how this could be used as a model for other areas is discussed.

Authors’ Affiliations

Honorary Clinical Professor, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


© Shepherd 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.