Kelsie, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, NHS Lothian

Kelsie is a diabetes specialist nurse working in the community in NHS Lothian.

In this video she tells us her NHS story, and explains what her role entails and why she thinks nursing is important.

I'm Kelsie and I'm a registered adult nurse working in the community as a diabetes nurse specialist.

I started my career as a newly qualified staff nurse in a busy district nursing team. I was really lucky, as a nursing student, that I had 3 community placements that really showed me the complex and varied role of a community nurse.

Deciding to be a nurse was quite daunting, as no one in my family is in the profession. It felt like a huge jump, but I've never regretted it and I've enjoyed every moment. I think nursing is a perfect job for me, because I'm caring, I love working with people, and I've really enjoyed learning all the new skills.

A typical day for me in the community is varied and challenging, like most nursing careers. We're currently working from home when we're not out visiting patients, or attending meetings as a team at the hospitals. Driving across Edinburgh every day is amazing, and I'll never get tired of those views.

I support people to manage their diabetes at home. Our caseload is diverse and we support people from the age of 16 and older. We're always finding out new ways to help people manage their condition safely, at home, in a way that works best for them. We spend most of our day providing patient education, reviewing blood glucose levels, reviewing blood results, titrating insulin, and reviewing other oral diabetes medications. We support carers and nurses who support patients living with diabetes, and we're often delivering education sessions to them.

I've recently just completed my clinical decision making module in preparation for becoming a nurse prescriber.

I think the most important skills to be a nurse are compassion and self-awareness. We have to be compassionate in all aspects of our career, with patients, with their families, and working through Covid19 has shown us that we should be compassionate with our colleagues. I think all nurses should have a great level of self-awareness. We're human too and we need to look after ourselves. I think it's important that we have a good awareness of how we're performing that day, or how we delivered that skill. Being able to be self-aware and take good feedback makes us great leaders and colleagues.

I am proud to be a nurse, because I know that I make a difference to people's lives each day, big or small. It's really rewarding to know you're making an impact. If you're thinking of becoming a nurse and you're caring, a great communicator, you want to make a difference and you have good leadership skills, to apply. The student nurse journey is a challenge, but it's so rewarding and you meet some great people, and get some amazing experiences along the way.


Where did your nursing journey start?

My nursing journey began as a newly qualified staff nurse in a busy district nursing team. Throughout my training, I was very lucky to have three community placements and I loved every one of them. I could see the complex role of the community nurse and enjoyed the variety in each day. I knew it was where I wanted to start my career.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

Deciding to become a nurse was quite daunting for me at the beginning. With no one in my family working in the profession, I felt like I was making a huge jump! I saw nursing as the perfect career for me – I am caring, great at working with people and enjoy learning practical skills. I have loved every minute of my journey so far.

Can you tell us what a typical day is like for you?

A typical day for me working as a diabetes specialist nurse in the community is varied and challenging – like most nursing careers! We currently work from home, when not visiting patients or attending team meetings at the hospitals. Driving across Edinburgh every day, I do not get bored of the views.

I support patients in the community to manage their diabetes. The demographic of our caseload is diverse – supporting people from the age of 16 and older, with all types of diabetes. We are always finding out the best way to support each patient to safely manage their long-term condition, in a way that works for them.

The kinds of tasks we do every day include:

  • providing patient education
  • reviewing blood glucose levels and blood results
  • titrating insulin (adjusting the level based on other factors)
  • reviewing other diabetes medications

We support carers and other nurses who are providing care for their patients, often delivering education sessions. I have recently completed my clinical decision-making module in preparation for starting training to become a nurse prescriber.

What would you say are the most important skills for a nurse?

The most important skills for a nurse are compassion and self-awareness.

We have to show compassion in all aspects of our career, with patients and their families. Working through COVID-19 has shown us that compassion towards our colleagues is integral to working as a team as well. 

I think all nurses need to have a good level of self-awareness. We are human too. We need to look after ourselves to be able to deliver the best nursing care we can. Self-awareness of how we are performing that day, what skills we may need to improve on, or how we supported a nursing student are all important – being able to reflect and take feedback makes us great leaders and colleagues.

What makes you proud to be a nurse?

I am proud to be a nurse because I know I make a difference to people’s lives every day, big or small. There is something so rewarding in knowing you really are making an impact.

What advice would you give to others thinking about becoming a nurse?

I would strongly encourage anyone who wants to make a difference, is caring, good at communicating and has leadership qualities to apply. The student nurse journey is a challenge, but you meet some amazing people and get some great experiences along the way.

What makes you smile at work?

Working in the community offers a different side to nursing. We build relationships with patients and their families. I can visit someone at home after some time has passed and still be welcomed into their home.

Also, patients sharing stories of their life, photos and memories – that makes me smile!

What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job as a community diabetes specialist nurse is working closely with patients to achieve the goals they have set for their care. I love the flexibility and adaptability this job brings, and that there are so many learning opportunities for me.

What empowers you to be a nurse?

I feel empowered as nurse when I feel supported and skilled. As I work autonomously in the community, continuing my professional development and developing my knowledge helps me to feel confident in my decision making.

Nursing Here for Life

Visit the Nursing Here for Life campaign page.

Explore nursing careers

Find the nursing career for you.