ello everyone! I hope you all made it home safely after attending AADE16. Isn’t San Diego beautiful?
Now it’s time to go through all those notes and handouts, flyers and brochures while the information is still fresh on your mind. It’s always a tough decision as to what you want to implement – and the bigger issue is how. How do you make changes to your program by implementing new ideas, new practices, perhaps introducing new medications when you are already busy and stretched for time? You might consider scheduling a few meetings or more informal lunch time sessions with colleagues who did not get to attend AADE16 to share with them your new information and enthusiasm and develop a plan to introduce some changes to update your program.
This will not be easy. Change is always hard, but someone has to be the catalyst that gets the spark started. I often remind myself of a quote from Lilly Tomlin: “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about this. Then I realized I was somebody.” We are all somebody and we all have the power to share information and start the process to make changes.
While browsing the hot topics of the day in my email, I came across an article from Medscape entitled Residents Lifestyle and Happiness Report 2016. These were the results of a survey done of medical residents as they identified their biggest challenges. The article reports that 33 percent of the residents find it challenging to maintain a work-life balance. Dealing with time pressures/demands on time proves to be a challenge for 23 percent of residents. Fear of making a mistake and developing needed clinical skills were both ranked at 15 percent.
Fear of making a mistake can impact the way individuals with diabetes “take control of their disease” as we promote and encourage our patients to do
While reading, I realized this is not unique to medical residents. This also applies to our patients. How many of our patients find it challenging to work full-time while caring for children, grandchildren and/or elderly parents? They are often trying to maintain other’s health at the expense of their own, especially our female patients who are often the caretakers for a wide range of family members. This plays into dealing with demands on time – I rarely meet people who complain about having too much time on their hands.
Fear of making a mistake can impact the way individuals with diabetes “take control of their disease” as we promote and encourage our patients to do. Increasing insulin by three units every three days until FBS goal is reached is often daunting for some patients as they may be afraid of potential hypoglycemia. Or, some have been told for years by their healthcare professional to only take medications are they are told. This can be a difficult paradigm to change.
Finally, developing those important clinical skills range from self-monitoring blood sugars, to insulin pumps or CGMS management. Some of my patients still struggle with getting the insulin out of the vial and into their body.
Our challenge, as diabetes educators, is to help our patients overcome those challenges or barriers to improving their self-care and management so that they can achieve the goals we have collectively set. That is where our new knowledge, skills and enthusiasm learned at AADE16 comes in.
Have a great rest of the summer!
About 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.