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 Emma Ueffing, Michelle Gernat, and Lise Belliveau (left to right), members of the inpatient team at the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care (CCDC).
What does it take to be an inpatient diabetes educator?
Our inpatient team consists of Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Dietitians (RDs) who are Certified Diabetes Educators. It is valuable to have clinical experience and experience working in an acute care setting. Comprehensive knowledge of diabetes management is also important.
What inspired you to work as an inpatient diabetes educator?
Inpatient diabetes management is fast paced, dynamic and challenging. This type of environment allows for constant learning and the chance to improve our clinical skills.
What is unique about your role?
Every person living with diabetes is unique. We work with our patients to create customized care plans to keep them safe and healthy. As RNs and RDs we have a lot of autonomy in our role to make suggestions to physicians and guide health care teams to follow best practice guidelines. The CCDC in Thunder Bay is the only program in Ontario with an inpatient service which also makes us unique.
How does your role impact patient care?
High and low blood sugars can have both short and long term complications. We help keep patients safe while they are in our Hospital, and hope to get them home as soon as possible with the skills and knowledge to manage their own diabetes. We provide a variety of education to patients such as how to inject insulin, test blood sugars and what types of foods can help to manage blood sugars.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle is part of your daily messaging to patients. Do you have any personal tips on how to stay healthy?
Fit activity in whenever you can – we like to walk on our lunches. Did you know that healthy eating and exercise can lower your blood sugars as much, if not more, than some medications?
Any final thoughts?
Having a good understanding of diabetes management will help you no matter where you work in health care. Diabetes Canada is a great resource to use if you’re getting started.