About 25.8 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Education Program. Many of them work with certified diabetes educators.
The role of the nurse/certified diabetes educator is pivotal in educating, supporting and empowering individuals with diabetes to live their best lives, said Peggy Hasenauer, RN, MS, executive director of the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center.
Susan McLaughlin, RN, BSN, CDE, manages inpatient diabetes education at Kovler and shared these tips for CDEs when they are working with
Newly diagnosed patients who face challenging issues
Help patients get their teams lined up endocrinologist, certified diabetes educator, dietitian and counselor. A team approach to diabetes is the most efficient. That way when patients need some help or advice, they will know where to turn.
The first year is always the hardest. Patients educational needs the first year are enormous. Encourage patients to cut back on their other daily responsibilities for a while as they learn how to live with diabetes. Remind them it will get easier over time.
Practice variable what if scenarios with your patients. This will help build problem-solving skills and confidence.
Patients who are repeat admissions as a direct result of the disease
Make sure patients have a written sick-day plan, which should include how to adjust insulin regimen and when to contact a healthcare provider for more help.
Remind patients they will feel better, have more energy and be more mentally alert if their diabetes is well managed. This makes all other daily challenges easier to handle. A positive approach such as this is usually more effective than dwelling on the risks of complications.
Caregivers and family members who need education
Encourage patients family members and loved ones to attend diabetes appointments and education. A few extra ears can be helpful, and this will help the family members and loved ones to be on the same page with the patient and his or her health plan.
Parents of younger children with diabetes need to be discouraged from giving too much responsibility to their children. Especially during the teen years, parental supervision is essential.
Their community to start programs that support patients and their families
Diabetes support groups are a great way to provide education and networking opportunities for people with diabetes in a community. It is powerful for them to know they are not alone and others are struggling with the same issues.
Diabetes camp is a wonderful way for children and teens to connect with others while improving their understanding of diabetes and increasing confidence levels.
Other nurses (who arent CDEs) who need education
Ask your hospital leadership about developing a diabetes resource program. One or two nurses from each unit can be trained to be the go-to resource for questions that arise about diabetes.
Inform non-CDE nurses to track any time they spend talking to patients about diabetes management. The non-CDE nurse can use the hours accumulated toward the required hours of patient education needed before taking the CDE exam.
To see what else is trending, visit www.Nurse.com/Diabetes.