It’s Diabetes Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting staff at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre who play a vital role in diabetes care. Today, we’re sharing a Q & A from Lynn Hubelit, Kimberly Kostyshyn, and Michelle Gernat, Registered Nurses at the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care (CCDC).
What does it take to be a Registered Nurse?
To become a Registered Nurse (RN), you must complete a university degree in nursing. In addition, we are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs). To become a CDE, you will need 800 hours of practice in diabetes education, be a health care professional licensed with your regulatory body, and pass a competency exam. To maintain a CDE designation, you have to be re-certified every 5 years.
What inspired you to work in diabetes care?
Diabetes has touched all of us personally. We have seen how living with diabetes affects many of the decisions people make in a day, and how important the role of education and support is to successfully self manage diabetes.
What is unique about your role?
As nurses, we take care of patients with diabetes regularly, but it is difficult to fully understand diabetes management until you are immersed in it. As CDE’s, we are experts in diabetes management, and being part of the interdisciplinary team at the CCDC allows us to learn about all aspects of care for patients living with diabetes.
How does your role impact patient care?
Our role is to improve quality of life for our patients by helping them learn to manage diabetes based on their personal goals and abilities. We help people to understand their illness and teach them to manage independently while providing them with the support they need.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle is part of your daily messaging to patients. Do you have any personal tips on how to stay healthy?
Managing stress is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Find an activity you can enjoy regularly to help reduce stress.
Any final thoughts?
Living with diabetes can be difficult and most people know what they need to do to be healthy. Remember to minimize judgement and criticism. Be compassionate and supportive.