Assessing student nurses' knowledge of hypoglycaemia- the first step to improvement

Authors: Singleton, H., James, J., Penfold, S. and Priego-Hernandez, J.

Start date: 5 March 2019

Background: Previous studies highlight the lack of knowledge nurses have about Diabetes. Insufficient knowledge about diabetes treatments can lead to errors and result in serious hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia. Inpatients with diabetes are at increased risk of experiencing medication errors.

Methods: Nursing students commencing their second year completed a 10-point questionnaire created to assess their understanding about diabetes, specifically hypoglycaemia. Students provided details about their educational level and experience of nursing people with diabetes. They also rated their knowledge about diabetes and how confident they felt to nurse a patient who was experiencing hypoglycaemia. Results: 160 (76%) students completed the online survey. Whilst 86% of students could confirm a diagnosis of hypoglycaemia, only 19% correctly cited the signs and symptoms of the condition. Only 26% of students confirmed that a sulphonurea could cause hypoglycaemia and only 16% would provide an additional dose of glucose if the patient’s blood glucose was still below 4mmol/L after 10-15minutes. Whilst only 22% of students rated their knowledge of diabetes as good, reassuringly 98% stated they were interested in learning more about diabetes.

Conclusions: We found that the knowledge about diabetes, and more specifically about hypoglycaemia, amongst 2nd Year Nursing Students was limited, in spite of their interest in this subject. Nurse education needs a greater focus on the acute complications of diabetes linking with national and local guidelines for care. Novel educational methods are required to reinforce educational messages on these important topics.

The data on this page was last updated at 05:17 on May 25, 2020.