Monday, March 15, 2010

The Unsung Heroes of Diabetes Care (a.k.a. give your CDE / nurse practitioner a hug today)

Late last week I was invited to be a part of an informative appreciation event for CDE's (Certified Diabetes Educators) and NP's (Nurse Practitioners) hosted by my good friend at Medtronic Diabetes. As part of a panel of other patients who use and endorse the insulin pump (we were the 'patient champions' - gold medals and all!), we each shared our personal experiences with the pump and the fielded questions from the audience.

The questions and consequent personal interactions with many of the attendees reminded me of something. Remember high school (me neither). Just think really hard...mullets, guess jeans, rolled got it!

Now consider the teacher(s) that made a significant impact on you. It affected your attitude at the time (toward school, the specific subject, and academics), and may very well have shaped many of the views you hold today. That teacher was passionate and just knew how to connect with people. You got the feeling that their job had nothing to do with the paycheck they received, and if the compensation portion of their occupation vanished, they would still be there the next morning ready to teach!

Can you recall a special teacher like that? Driven. Dedicated. Diligent. Determined. And usually...under-appreciated.

That's what it was like last week, in a room full of people seeking to connect more deeply with their patients. Trying to instill better habits by offering encouragement and resources to improve quality of life. Who's? YOURS!

Doctors specializing in diabetes (endocrinologists) often get the accolades, but the truth is that the CDE's and the NP's are on the front lines of the battle most often. When was the last time you heard of a doc giving out his home, cell, and direct work phone numbers, JUST IN CASE any questions or problems arise? Not only has that happened to me, I heard stories of the CDE's and NP's doing so much more - just to ensure their patients would be OK.

It takes a team of competent and caring professionals to successfully manage diabetes, and your endo is a key player on that team. But let's not forget about those that show up every day to 'practice', train with you in the proverbial weight room, and do whatever they can to facilitate your total health success - the CDE's and NP's!

So call or drop a message to your CDE/NP today and simply say thank you. And to all those who dedicate their lives to make diabetes easier for people like me, on behalf of everyone who has benefitted from your experience I say, thank you!

Keep pumpin'....

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