Rosie Walker RN, BSc (Hons) Psychology, MA Education
Hello, let me introduce myself! Between 1985 and 2000, I had a long, happy and successful career as a diabetes specialist nurse, and feel privileged to have worked with, and in continuing to work with and learn from, some extraordinary professionals and people with diabetes.
I had the pleasure of working formally with Jill Rodgers from 2002, when we started our journey as 'In Balance Healthcare UK', with the shared vision of 'making a difference' in diabetes care and education from outside the NHS. Now, having developed my skills and qualifications further and amassed a huge amount of experience in psychology, counselling, empowerment and education, it feels like Successful Diabetes is 'home' for all our expertise. Following Jill leaving in December 2012, I'm delighted to be continuing to run the company, working with both Jill and other skilled associates when the need arises.
In addition to our books and the work I did in clinical posts working with adults and children in Ipswich and Romford, I've had some wonderful experiences and opportunities that have taught me a great deal. They include the following:
I was Assistant Head of the Diabetes Care Department at the British Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK) from 1990 to 1992. This was the first time a diabetes specialist nurse had transferred from the NHS to Diabetes UK, so it was a bit of an experiment! A successful one all round as it turned out, and I have had close links with the organisation ever since. To our delight, Jill and I were for some years the preferred provider of Diabetes UK's volunteer training. This included helping service user representatives be better equipped for their roles and providing training for people with diabetes, including young people, to facilitate the 3D (Diabetes Diagnosis Discussion) programme to help others with diabetes.
I chaired the Royal College of Nursing Diabetes Nursing Forum from 1997 to 2001. It's vitally important to me that diabetes is seen as 'every nurse's business', and fulfilling this role was part of my commitment to making it happen. I led many initiatives and was involved in developing guidance for diabetes nursing in both adult and paediatric fields.
I gave the Janet Kinson Lecture in 2001, at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference. This is an invited and elected lecture for nurses who have made an impact in improving diabetes education in the UK - what an honour!
I was the only nurse member of the External Reference Group of the Diabetes National Service Framework from 1999 to 2001. Again an honour, and hard work, and by bringing a nursing and empowerment perspective to the group, I made a difference to the standards which emerged.
I was an elected member of the Diabetes UK Advisory Council from 2004 to 2007. It was a brilliant experience and I feel proud to have made a contribution to policy development and the voice of nurses within Diabetes UK.
At the University of Warwick, I was the Course Director of the Certificate in Diabetes Care (CIDC) from 2003 to 2006, and also Course Director of Management of Diabetes in Hospital Clinical Areas from 2005 to 2007. These roles really helped me develop as an educationalist, giving me the opportunity to reflect on and develop my own beliefs and values about learning as well as adding to my knowledge and skills.
Along with other invited guests, I had the opportunity to share a story about my empowerment journey in The Art of Empowerment by Bob Anderson and Marti Funnell. This book is the guiding light of empowerment for both Jill and me, and to have been invited to share a story meant a lot. Seeing my story in print along with those of people around the world who also share the philosophy of empowerment continues to inspire me.