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Diabetes Care and Education Beyond the Clinical Practice Setting

Mar 9, 2015

Years ago I was attending an annual AADE meeting in Washington, DC. It was a hot summer day in August and while running between meetings, I got overheated. One of my fellow attendees, a nurse educator who was also a friend and past president of AADE, put a cool wet towel on my neck. This cooled me off and relieved the discomfort. I was later reminded of this during one of my travels. I was in the airport in the business lounge, when I noticed a woman about my age sitting across from me who was sweating.

My first thought was that she was having a hypoglycemic event. I didn’t feel, however, that it was my place to ask her that so I just struck up a conversation with her. I told her I had noticed that she was sweating, and offered her a wet towel. She then let me know that she had diabetes and her blood sugar was low. At that point, I told her that I was a diabetes educator. She was relieved. I asked her if I could help her. With that conversation, she then got her glucose tabs out from her purse and took them which treated her low accordingly.

Lessons Learned:

  • Diabetes education and care do not always happen in the healthcare environment such as classrooms, clinics, or hospitals.
  • Being a diabetes educator is not limited to the healthcare environment such as the classroom, clinic, or hospital.
  • Trust my intuition and choose my thoughts, words and actions carefully. Although it was not my place to intrude into someone’s health history, it never hurts to show I care. I did and was able to help someone with my expertise.
  • Do not create a panic. Use a non-clinical/diagnostic conversation first.

Barbara Eichorst MS, RD, CDE
Healthy Interactions

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