November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting staff at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre who play a vital role in diabetes care. Meet Carina Barrie and Allyson Adduono, Nurse Practitioners at the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care (CCDC).
What does it take to be a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?
NPs are Registered Nurses who have additional education and clinical experience. They diagnose patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medication and other treatments. To specialize in the field of diabetes, we successfully completed the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certificate exam.
What inspired you to work in diabetes care?
We both have a vast nursing background that includes critical care and cardiac care. Working in these areas, we saw how poorly controlled diabetes can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life. We want to keep our patients as healthy as possible and be a part of preventing long-term complications.
What is unique about your role?
Nurse practitioners are at the forefront of diabetes management. We provide ongoing medical care to mange the complexities of this chronic illness. We have the opportunity to get to know our patients and help them in a holistic manner within our inter-professional team. Each patient’s needs and goals are unique which directs our plan of care and involvement.
How does your role impact patient care?
By supporting patients to manage their diabetes, we have an impact on their life. We help to increase their confidence, self-management skills and future health. In turn, this can have a positive impact on a family, a workplace and/or a community.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle is part of your daily messaging to patients. Do you have any personal tips on how to stay healthy?
Try to focus on staying active. Exercise can reduce stress, and improve sleep and resiliency. Make lifestyle changes one step at a time. You can start by exercising daily, then make small changes to your diet, followed by practicing mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety. Staying healthy will be a lifelong process that will change and evolve.