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Changing in the Direction of Improvement

May 07, 2019

Spring is here! The sun is peeking out more often, burning through those gray hazy days of winter. Flowers are starting to pop up and bloom. Even the animals are preparing to get moving again after a long, cold, often wet winter. If you or your patients have already shelved those New Year’s resolutions, now is a good time to take another stab at making some changes to improve your lifestyle and hopefully your health. 

Every journey starts with just one step – and then another and another. Things change. People change. Situations change. As I’ve been told (and experienced), life goes on. Our job, as diabetes educators, is to assist our clients to change in the direction of improvement. That direction is unique for each person which is often our biggest challenge – trying to discover what is the best direction for that individual.

Sometimes the best direction is obvious at the first encounter. Sometimes it takes hours of discussion and exploration to uncover what is actually going on, what the individual is really doing, then develop a plan and new direction for our client. A lot of discovery has to do with how we, as the diabetes educator, phrase our questioning. If you ask a person, “Do you take your medication/insulin?” the individual most likely will reply “Yes” or “Of course.” It is not until we have spent a bit more time exploring the client’s daily routine and actual nitty-gritty of what is happening, that we are enlightened with the comment, “Well, I don’t take it every day” or “I only take my medications when I need them – when my blood sugars are high.” Or, “I can’t afford to take my medications every day. They are SO expensive. So I stretch them out and take them every other day (or even every third day)." Sometimes the client will state, “I take them when I remember them.” Good information to have when we are pondering variations in glucose control or complaints such as “My sugars are just all over the place. One morning it is high and the next it’s too low.”


Our job, as diabetes educators, is to assist our clients to change in the direction of improvement. That direction is unique for each person which is often our biggest challenge – trying to discover what is the best direction for that individual.

Resources for managing hyperglycemiaTake the time to ask the important questions so you can find out what is really going on with the individual and make a significant impact to their self-management plan. For more reading on how to motivate the people with diabetes in your practice to reengage with their goals, check out my previous blog or this blog with 6 tips for educators to keep momentum on resolutions moving forward.

Speaking of change and moving forward, AADE is changing and updating their blogger program format. Starting in May, the topics of the AADE Blog will be expanded. Instead of a small core group, they will be rotating through contributions from partner organizations, collaborators, leadership, COI/LNG groups and staff. The goal is to diversify the breadth of topics covered. All details have not yet been finalized but check back and if you have an idea or topic you would like to share, send in your contributions. This can be your chance to grow and develop as a thought leader. Remember, every journey starts with one step. This could be yours!!

I have certainly enjoyed my 12 years as one of the core group bloggers. I have enjoyed and utilized your comments over the years to grow as a professional and individual. I look forward to reading your thoughts and what you think interesting and/or informative. As I’ve stated before, we’ve come a long way. But we still have a long way to go!

If you have not done so, be sure and sign up for AADE19 in Houston Texas. It’s a great time to learn about what your colleagues are doing and a great way to either start with that first step of learning or to help you move along on your journey as a diabetes educator.

See you in Houston!


Barbara WalzAbout the Author

Barbara Walz is an RN, BSN and has been a certified diabetes educator since 1986. Since 2000, Barbara has coordinated a multi-site diabetes study examining the macro-vascular effects of diabetes at the South Texas Veterans’ Healthcare System under the supervision of Dr. Ralph DeFronzo.

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