There is an increasing pressure for nurses to have a recognised qualification in their specialist area to be able to use the title 'specialist' nurse. As there is a historical lack of a recognised qualification in endocrinology for nurses, we audited exactly where nurses gained their specialist knowledge in the first year in post.
There were no publications on this topic.
86 questionnaires designed to allow the individual to rate their endocrine knowledge at the start of and 1 year in post and by what methods they gained their education, were handed out or posted to endocrine nurses around the UK.
62 valid replies were received.
11 out of 62 rated their level of specialist knowledge unchanged after 1 year.
6 of these rated themselves with poor knowledge.
In total 42 rated themselves initially with poor knowledge, of which 36 assessed themselves with adequate or good knowledge after 1 year.
The mean percentage of educational input from 3 areas was autodidactic 37.3, colleagues 33.6 and educational meetings 29.1.
The most prevalent 'educational' meetings were sessions run by drug companies, with 43 out of 62 nurses having attended these.
In the first year in post, historically there has been no formal training for endocrine nurse to attend. The audit indicated that the majority of nurses started in post with poor knowledge and had variable training, with a large proportion dependent on drug companies for educational progress.
There is a real onus on the educational input of the Society for Endocrinology and the development of specialist nurse courses; these findings need to be re-audited in 5 years time.