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Dickinson & Guzman Part 5, Final Thoughts and Key Points

In part 5, the conclusion of this Exclusive Interview, Drs. Dickinson and Guzman share the takeaway points they are looking to impart in a conversation with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California.

Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE is the Program Director and faculty for the solely online Master of Science in Diabetes Education and Management program at Teachers College Columbia University. Susan Guzman, PhD is a clinical psychologist specializing in diabetes. Her clinical and research focus areas include overcoming barriers to management, family issues, and promoting attitudes that support living well with diabetes, from diagnosis throughout the lifespan.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve: I saw a lecture not too long ago about what makes a good presenter for audiences, and the comment was that a good presenter presents the information to the audience and the audience takes that information, goes home and uses that in their practice. Then there’s a presenter who has all these wonderful slides and you walk out the door you don’t remember anything that he said, okay, and so what would you like medical professionals, family practitioners, pharmacist, nurses, dietitians to take away from your presentation? What is maybe three or four most important things?

Jane: Well, I would say put the person first and when you put the person first the language will follow. And you can’t use the word “diabetic” and put the person first. It just doesn’t work. And then the other thing for me is a strengths-based approach. So looking at what the person is doing, what they’re doing well, what they’re doing at all, and focusing on that.

Susan: Those are good ones. I think that I would add probably to think about how when we communicate about a challenge like living with diabetes, we have to think about words that can contribute to the burden of living with the disease, so when we are using words that make people feel judged and blamed, it has a big impact. As a psychologist,  I can tell you that that it contributes to anxiety, depression, diabetes distress and makes people want to pull away from being engaged with their disease rather than feeling welcomed in and encouraged.

Steve: When you’ve given the medical professional something else to think about besides blood sugars, hypertension and foot care and eye care. So, you are adding more complication into the equation.

Susan: But really, it’s a philosophy, so if you think about it, like my job isn’t to fix that person, it’s to be a good listener, treat them with respect, treat and collaborate with them, work on what they have to bring to the table in terms of strength, and actually when you approach it like that, the language sort of naturally follows.

Steve: Yes, I could see that. If you don’t want to blame the patient for eating too much, you’re going to talk to the patient in a different tone and in a different way, so it’s really the idea will actually change your words.

Jane: And something you just said that our body language and our tone are just as important as our words.

Steve: It’s the same thing when a medical professional talks about physical activity. You know, they can’t really talk about it intelligently unless they’re doing it. The patient knows that. Again, I want to thank you for your time and enjoy the rest of your stay in San Diego. Thank you.

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