A qualitative exploration of patient experiences of diabetic care provided by general practice nurses in an Australian urban general practice setting

Eileen Boyle

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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This research explores patient experiences of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) care delivered by general practice nurses in a West Australian urban general practice setting.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) accounts for 87% of the Australian adult population with diabetes and 60% of the disease burden. It has a significant impact on an individual’s life. National health reform has sought to address the increasing prevalence of T2DM with its subsequent demand on general practice health service delivery. Part of this restructuring has facilitated the increased participation of general practice nurses (GPNs) in managing patients with diabetes. Current diabetic management in general practice is focused on clinical indicators related to glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), lipids and blood pressure. However, the complexity of diabetic care and its heavy reliance on individual self-management can be very challenging for individuals and health care providers. Despite ongoing reform efforts to address the growing demand of this complex health condition health outcomes are not improving and individuals with diabetes remain frustrated with the care provided.

The aim of this study was to explore the participants’ experiences of T2DM care as part of their diabetes management at their general practice. A qualitative interpretive study design using semi-structured face-to-face interviews was selected as the most effective way to explore the research topic.

Purposeful sampling was used to invite participants to contribute to this study. Following consultation the general practitioner invited patients to participate. 10 patients from the general practice contributed to this study.

Transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) inductive coding thematic analysis process. This process facilitated the identification of five main themes that described the participants’ experiences of GPN T2DM care: Feelings related to diagnosis, Challenge of living with T2DM, Perceptions and expectations of the GPN role, Knowledge and Confidence in the system. The first two themes incorporated participants’ personal experience of diagnosis and living with T2DM. The remaining three themes captured the participants’ experiences of receiving GPN care for their condition.

Key findings reflect the participants’ ongoing challenges in managing their condition effectively and additional stress when unable to meet this challenge successfully. While participants described their satisfaction for the additional support and relaxed environment of GPN T2DM consultations they experienced this role as primarily gathering clinical information to be passed onto the follow up GP consultation. They could not describe the GPN role beyond these clinical assessments identifying a need for additional advice, information and probing questions. Findings suggest that the current model of GPN T2DM consultation needs to be reviewed to meet individual needs as well as clinical assessment effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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