"My role as a Trainer is enhanced greatly from my experience of DESMOND"

8 September 2010

Sonia Willis tells us how her role as an Education for Health Trainer is enhanced by her experience as a National Quality Development Trainer and Assessor for the DESMOND Programme...

"My role as a Trainer is enhanced greatly from my experience of DESMOND"

I have been asked to talk about my new role as a National Quality Development Trainer and Assessor for the DESMOND Programme which I started in March 2010. DESMOND, as you may know is an acronym used to describe evidence based structured education programmes. It stands for Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed. But more recently it has become a brand describing itself as follows: “DESMOND is the name of a ‘family’ of patient education programmes and related Educator training, which have been developed by a collaborative of NHS organisations, and which have a co-ordinating centre hosted by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.”

Having attended the Education for Health “Aspire to Inspire” course (as it is now called) in late October 2007, I began training on behalf of the charitable organisation in 2008 on an ad hoc freelance basis on their Level 5 Diabetes as a Cardiovascular Disease Diploma Course, and have gone on to deliver other Level 5 Diploma Courses in Stroke Management in Primary Care and CVD Risk. I enjoyed it so much that I reduced my hours with the PCT to 4 days so that I could be available to train more often. I then started to pick up short courses in Spirometry, (which remains a passion of mine to improve standards), Putting Prevention First and Tackling CVD Risk as well as other courses such as Diabesity. At the time of writing I have delivered more than 60 days for Education for Health since I started.

My role as an educator or “facilitator of learning” as I prefer to be called is enhanced greatly from my experience of DESMOND. The learning philosophies used in DESMOND are extremely empowering when used effectively. Based on Adult, Common Sense, Social Learning and Dual Processing theories and focusing on the use of open discovery questions to support the process of people working things out for themselves and with each other in groups, the programme has proven to be effective in enabling people to make sustainable changes to their behaviour when managing their diabetes. By using some of the same skills in my approach to my work for Education for Health, I feel I have supported many health care professionals to gain competence and confidence to attain accredited qualifications.

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