Teresa Pearson, MS, MBA, CNS, CDCES, FADCES has been a member of ADCES for more than 30 years.
Why do you love being a member/what does membership mean to you?
Having worked in the diabetes field for more than 30 years, ADCES is my primary professional association. Being associated with like-minded professionals has enhanced my career in so many ways. ADCES has provided me with opportunities to learn and to contribute as a speaker, an author and a member of various committees as well as the board of directors. I have met many people I can go to for professional questions, ideas and advice. Many of those people are also now lifelong friends and colleagues.
What is your favorite part about being a diabetes care and education specialist?
Having diabetes is a journey for both the person who has it and their loved ones. I have always felt humbled by the opportunity to join them on that journey, learning as much as I give. People with diabetes are resilient and innovative, and I strive to support them in whatever way I can without getting in their way. One of my favorite stories among so many is when I was able to help a 7-year-old girl give her first insulin injection by herself. I have an ornament that young girl gave me about 25 years ago that I still cherish as a reminder of why I do what I do.
Top five ADCES resources/programs?
ADCES Annual Conference, AIP, TSO, tools such as those available for DSMES and NDPP Accreditation and educational opportunities through webinars
What is one piece of advice you would give to a new diabetes care and education specialist or someone considering the profession?
Remember that caring for people with diabetes is more than numbers and technology. Focus on the needs and desires of your patients and their support systems and meet them there. Have a collaborative discussion and seek first to understand, because while there is much about diabetes in textbooks and journals, each individual's experience is uniquely theirs. There is a lot to managing diabetes. Help your patients work on one issue at a time, letting them help prioritize where they want to start.
From a practical standpoint, if you want to become a CDCES, read the CBDCES Handbook and start tracking your hours. Find places where you can get qualifying experience in your job and in your community. Lean on your colleagues when you feel stuck and see if there is someone in your community who can mentor you. Having hands-on experience will help you really see if this profession is for you. Learn about the competencies of a DCES at your professional level and find ways to get there. Let people at your workplace know this is something you want to do. If they don’t see the need -- show them.