A panel will share how they used their experiences as diabetes educators to carve out new niches and jobs that expanded their impact as healthcare professionals.
Carolé Mensing, RN, MA, CDE, FAADE, a clinical nurse specialist and diabetes consultant in private practice, will moderate Sunday morning’s discussion. She said that the genesis for this session came from discussions with AADE President Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, FAADE.
“We’ve often talked about our professional calling as educators and how most of us don’t sit back and wait for things to happen,” Mensing said. Instead, “We get out in front and make things happen.”
The panel of Ardis Reed, MPH, RD, LD, CDE, certified diabetes educator at TMF Health Quality Institute in Texas; Kathy Schwab, MPH, RD, regional manager, diabetes education, Providence Health & Services; Mary Ellen Wolf, BSN, RN, CDE, care coordinator, Healthways; and Patricia Pugh, MS, RN, CDE, program director, chronic disease management, Baylor Scott & White Health, represent some of the Change Champions recognized by AADE this year. The professional practice of each champion correlates with a strategy in AADE’s 2016-2018 strategic plan and showcases the new roles and responsibilities diabetes educators take on as newer models of health care evolve.
“Change Champions are sometimes people that you don’t see and you’re not aware of, but the change is beginning to happen even if they’re not out in the forefront,” said Mensing. She also said that these presenters volunteer time to document their successful efforts and share it with others in the field.
Reed has been honored for her efforts to improve DSMES in parts of areas throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Puerto Rico known for poor access or having health-disparate populations. She has developed partnerships with community non-profits and used a community based peer-to-peer train the trainer model.
“We need to think out of the box and really look at the community setting and resources available to promote and deliver our education programs. I see a lot of barriers,” Reed said. “We try to break down those barriers and network with diabetes education programs in those same areas.”
Pugh has taken her experience as a diabetes manager and expanded her role into management of other chronic diseases. She’s led a program that applies the AADE7 Self-Care BehaviorsTM to COPD, asthma and heart failure along with diabetes.
It grew out of an understanding that patients often have more than one chronic disease, and that diabetes educators have a skillset that can have benefits beyond diabetes.
“Many of us have worked in little diabetes-only bubbles and we realized that these people with diabetes also have other chronic diseases. So we learned over time about those other diseases and gained confidence to step out of our diabetes bubble, and say, ‘I can do other things,’” she said.
Schwab has been part of a pilot program that uses technology to leverage resources to get diabetes education to people and places that haven’t had it in the past. The online app offered real-time, daily feedback that allowed more interaction with educators than the typical face-to-face model.
Everything was done online, from enrollment to the end of the program. The group is still waiting for final data, Schwab said, but early results have showed a significant drop in A1C and weight. Participants said they felt more connected to their educators with the shorter, more frequent contacts.
“Don’t be afraid to experiment and get familiar with technology and the need for data collection. Everything we do is evolving to be data-driven,” Schwab said. “It all comes back to the triple aim: Reaching more people, giving people a good experience and lowering the cost.”
Wolf took her background as a diabetes educator and nurse to take on the role of care coordinator. She now helps those with diabetes and other chronic conditions transition from hospital to home, making sure they have the services and education they need and that they stay in communication with their various health care specialists and primary care providers.
Opportunities for care coordinators expanded after the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act.
“A lot of the work as a care coordinator is something a diabetes educator already does, so it was a natural fit,” Wolf said.
Change Champions: Engage with Members Evolving Our Profession
9:15 am – 10:45 am
Room 6DE | 1.5 CE Available