I wanted to share with the members of AADE about comments from future healthcare professionals – mainly future pharmacists – who had the opportunity to step away from the “daily grind,” interact with children at a local diabetes camp and have some fun!
About one month ago, I had the opportunity to participate as a pharmacist, certified diabetes educator, teacher and mentor at a local diabetes camp in upstate South Carolina. The camp is organized by a registered nurse who is a certified diabetes educator and supported by a local hospital. The camp was held Monday through Friday and celebrated its 20th anniversary this summer. Approximately 20 adolescents from the ages of 7 to 18 attended the camp. A majority of the children were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and managed with insulin pumps. There were several children and young adults who managed with self-administered insulin therapy from pens and/or oral medications. At the beginning of the week, the camp attendees were assigned to either the blue or red team for the entire week. I was excited to be part of this opportunity in working with the camp attendees on both teams. In addition, I was most thrilled to see how the fourth-year student pharmacists from my institution interacted with the children and young adults. There were about two to three fourth-year student pharmacists with each team in order to: check blood glucose levels at certain times of the day, conduct a ketone check (if needed), administer insulin therapy, and supervise an attendee during a hypo- or hyperglycemic episodes. These tasks were not an exclusive list to the activities and responsibilities of the healthcare professionals at camp.
These students had the following positive statements about the camp:
I feel like this camp is a valuable lesson for students because you get to interact with the children and check blood sugars and adjust insulin doses. You also got to “personally see” how blood sugars are affected by exercise and meals.
I really enjoyed being a part of the camp and meeting the children involved. I think the whole experience was eye-opening and allowed us to see a side that we do not get to experience in the classroom or even at some practice sites.
I liked our educational sessions when we demonstrated proper insulin injection technique and the importance of alternating sites. I most enjoyed checking blood sugars and interacting with the kids. They are very smart when it comes to diabetes, which is extremely impressive.
I believe it was a valuable experience for a student, as we are exposed to pumps and carbohydrate counting with ratios and correction factors.
Working with these kids served as a great diabetes review. We learned mostly about type 2 diabetes so it was beneficial to work with and review type 1 diabetes, along with management of ketones and carbohydrate counting. This experience also served as a great opportunity for patient interaction.
Based on these comments, it is beneficial for any future healthcare professional to be involved in a local diabetes camp to see how individualized diabetes management is important. This diabetes camp definitely promoted the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™ for diabetes management among the adolescent population. It was a beneficial, rewarding and gratifying experience for any healthcare professional as a confidence booster regarding skills and knowledge with diabetes management!