Toni Slotnes-O’Brien NP has always seen health as a priority in her own life. Thus, after becoming a Registered Nurse and delving deeper into the Diabetes specialty area, she decided to become a Diabetes NP, as the role enables her to pursue her other passion besides nursing, which is educating and motivating people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Tell us a little bit about your nursing journey.
I became a Registered Nurse in 1994 and decided to choose Diabetes as my specialty area. I completed a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Management and Education and then went on to complete the Master of Nurse Practitioner in 2013.
Throughout my nursing journey, I enjoy encouraging other nurses to enhance their careers with further education. I also took up teaching for Master of Nurse Practitioner Course at the Flinders University four years ago.
Tell us about your current role as a NP.
I work within a General Practice and a specialist centre. I find the preventative aspect in my work extremely rewarding and I enjoy seeing people turn their lives around for the better by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
For the past eight years, I have managed a weight management clinic, written a book called ‘Healthy Target Plan’ with guidelines for weight management and successfully ceased Insulin in hundreds of people with Type 2 Diabetes.
The prescribing rights in my role has enabled me to initiate Insulin pumps in private practice, which helps prevent hospital admissions and lengthy waiting times for an Insulin pump in Type 1 Diabetes.
Furthermore, the NP title has allowed me to extend my scope of practice to include primary prevention. I am now able to educate my patients on not only preventing Diabetes complications but also on preventing or delaying the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future as a Nurse Practitioner?
I hope to complete a PhD to change the model of care in Type 1 Diabetes. I believe that not only does it need to change for the individual with Type 1 Diabetes, but also for our over-stretched hospital system. More options in health care delivery is needed.
How do you think health consumers will benefit from seeing Nurse Practitioner?
NPs have a holistic approach to health care. I know that when a person walks through my door at work, they are not just an individual with Diabetes but a person who may have stress, who may suffer financial problems, job loss, divorce or grief. I believe that as a nurse practitioner we have skills in holistic assessment, listening skills and problem solving.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become a NP?
It is not an easy course to complete but it will be the most rewarding achievement in your career. Reach out to other NPs for support as I have found that NP’s are supportive of each other and proud of their achievements. It is an exciting time for nurses as we are enhancing our healthcare system in many ways with the growing numbers of NPs.