Andrew Bzowyckyj, PharmD, BCPS, CDE
Clinical Assistant Professor; UMKC School of Pharmacy; Kansas City, MO Why did you choose to become a diabetes educator?
To be honest, I accepted a position within an endocrinology clinic and one of the expectations was that I become a certified diabetes educator within three years of hire. Diabetes (and other cardiometabolic conditions/risk factors) was a clinical condition that greatly interested me, and the needs of the patient population appeared to align extremely well with my pharmacist skillset. Becoming a diabetes educator was a natural step in my pursuit to achieve the ultimate goal of positively impacting people’s lives over the course of my career.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I can identify multiple aspects of my position that are very rewarding. One specific aspect includes the opportunity to work with individuals with diabetes over extended periods of time, not only in times of success (either small or large), but also during the rough patches when dark clouds roll in and overall motivation is low. The other aspect that I appreciate is serving as a faculty member within the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy because it enables me to have student pharmacists work alongside me in the clinic. In this setting, they are able to work with patients directly and see the “real life” perspective of how a chronic condition can affect a person’s day-to-day life. It also helps them develop skills related to empathy, motivational interviewing and providing compassionate, interprofessional care.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing diabetes educators today?
From my perspective, one of the biggest challenges facing diabetes educators comes in the form of an identity crisis in an increasingly complex (and expensive) health care system. Focusing on diabetes will always be a cornerstone of the diabetes educator’s role; after all, it’s in the name! However, it’s important to also be aware of other common comorbidities (e.g. heart failure, depression, obesity, arthritis) that impact diabetes (and vice versa). It is imperative to help the rest of the interprofessional team develop a patient-centered and comprehensive care plan. Diabetes can continue to be our focus, but it is important to broaden our perspectives at times. How has being an AADE member helped you treat patients?
Being an AADE member has helped me personally and professionally in several different ways. For starters, the resources provided on the AADE website and in print publications have been critical to my growth and development as a relatively new diabetes educator. Additionally, the Annual Conference has been a great place to network, share ideas, and learn new strategies for improving my clinical knowledge and patient care skills. Lastly, the state Coordinating Bodies (CB) provide a great infrastructure to find mentors and collaborate with other educators in your area. I don’t know where I would be without my Missouri (and Kansas) CB friends!
What are some of your interests outside of diabetes education?
In all of the free time that I generally don’t have, I enjoy running, traveling, and eating (sometimes all three combined!). My goal is to run one marathon in every state and, so far, I have completed seven– with my most recent one in Des Moines, Iowa in October 2016. (Someday I hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon!) I am fortunate enough to travel around the country a considerable amount for my job, but there are still so many sites to see (both nationally and internationally)! Lastly, I consider myself a genuine foodie, targeting those hole-in-the-wall and other legendary local restaurants. This also partly explains my need to train for marathons at all times.