Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Making Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) Classes Fun

I taught my first DSME class last month. I loved it. Part of being a nurse is being an educator---to patients, families, and colleagues. I hadn't had the opportunity to teach this class before because I had two nurses who were committed to teaching it as their role within a primary care clinic. But one nurse went to Iraq and the other transferred to Washington state. That left me to teach until I can get another cadre of experts trained. I went ahead and joined the American Academy of Diabetes Educators so I can learn and add to my credibility. I don't want to pass the wrong information to these patients who are relying on me.

I am in the process of trying to establish a DSME committee that would have physician oversight with a multi-disciplinary membership. My hope is that the training would continue to be evidence-based and provide a pool of qualified and respected instructors.

A wonderful resource for teaching is found on the University of Michigan web site. While I was waiting for everyone to show for class, I had them fill out this questionnaire on concerns that might interfere with learning about or managing their diabetes. I was amazed at the responses and so gratified that these individuals would trust me with this private information.

One of my colleagues in the Health Promotions Department is more jaded and cynical. I had two no-shows for this class and I contacted them afterwards to discover what barriers or obstacles prevented them from coming. My colleague said, "If you offered bingo along with the class, a $100 pay-out and free cards, you wouldn't have anyone making excuses for not attending. In fact, they would call in sick to work in order to attend!"

I don't want to believe that of my patients. I would prefer to believe that they have other needs more pressing that prevent them from making their healthcare a priority in their lives: grandchildren who must be reared, power bills that must be paid (and no money to pay), fears and worries that so overwhelm them that no action is preferable to making the wrong decision. And so, I am entering this contest to win a book, "The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts, written by Jackie Mills MS, RD. My hope is to have a prize to offer one of my patients. Our Health Promotions Department has funds for purchasing patient education materials, but they cannot fund giveaways or incentives. Consequently, I buy trinkets out of my own pocket. I currently have about 950 Unite for Diabetes pins to distribute to my patients (I started with 1,000 pins). Of course, they're not purchased from the Diabetes web site; I had them made by a Chinese company in Shenzhen, just across from Hong Kong, because a 10-pack of pins cost 30 Euros.


Julie said...

Wow. That is an amazing reason for wanting to win. Wonderful post and thank you for entering the contest!

WritingAllNight said...

Hi there,

You won the contest, can you please send me your address?


Sharon said...


7.9% of the United States population is suffering from a form of Diabetes. That is over 23 million people! Now, more than ever, it is important for organizations such as yourself. We here, at Disease.com (a site dedicated towards disease and their treatments), believe in the work you do and would like to coincide for the fight against diabetes. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Separately, we can make advancements, but together we can find a cure.
If you need more information please email me back with the subject line as your URL.

Thank You,
Sharon Vegoe