How do you collaborate with other educators?
I work on a New York State Department of Health Osteoporosis Education grant. There are 6 sites, each with 2-5 part to full time staff members, which cover the state of NY. This means that we each have a large territory and many people to try to contact.
So, one thing the DOH people stress is to collaborate. Join in to an existing program rather than creating one. Share services with other programs. Go to someone else’s party rather than planning your own! It really does make sense. In diabetes education, we have so many people to work with. We can’t do it all. We should join forces whenever possible.
Who do you collaborate with for your program? PTs, pharmacists, social workers? How does this work? What is successful? What challenges have you had?
Two weeks ago, I was teaching a weekend physical therapy continuing education course on Exercise for Aging Adults. During this 3rd of 3 weekends, we cover “Special Populations” including those with diabetes. I briefly cover the benefits and challenges of exercise, including effects of medications and complications. I encourage the PTs to expand their work to people with diabetes. I hear from so many diabetes educators that “we need more exercise people (PTs, exercise physiologists) in the field to help with physical activity.” I am so happy when some come to me after, asking about working in diabetes education. I handed out AADE materials last time. They were gone before all interested got one. I will bring more the next time! I received an email this week from a PT from the class that has joined a diabetes education/support group at her church and wanted some education materials. The nurse and dietitian who facilitate the program were very happy to have her help out.
But, I was surprised to have one PT come up to me and say that she approached the diabetes educator in her hospital, to offer to contribute by teaching the physical activity component and seeing people with diabetes in-patient, and was told that she wasn’t needed. She wasn’t asking for any money; just to spend part of her day helping out. I encouraged her to ask again. Her time with patients would not even be charged to the diabetes program. For inpatient, PT is bundled in the DRG for daily hospital stay. For outpatient, it is billed as a PT visit, outside of the 10 diabetes education hours. Maybe there was another reason. Any guesses?
I encourage you to find ways to collaborate with other people/professionals and in other programs. Give us ideas if you do this. I would love to hear so others can learn from your experiences.