This week – May 6 to 12 – is National Nurses Week. And here at Joslin Diabetes Center we’re celebrating the six women who make up the clinic nursing team.
The Joslin Nurse Educators—Thecla Gordon, Stacey O’Donnell, Melissa Karas, Marianne Chojnicki, Sue Ghiloni, and Laura Schwab—are all Registered Nurses(R.N.) and Certified Diabetes Educators (C.D.E.). They work with patients to develop care plans that work within each individual schedule and lifestyle. “We really try to get them to develop their own self-care goals,” says Thecla. “And we make sure the get the best of what they really need.”
During their first visit, patients see a nurse for an hour-long appointment to make sure they understand their diagnosis and how to manage their diabetes on their own. “We help expose their barriers,” says Thecla, and then they develop ways to take those barriers down, or at least work around them. “We try to coach them and motivate them to embrace self-care,” she says.
The Joslin nurses do more than meet with patients on a one-on-one basis. They participate in the many programs Joslin offers to make self-care more manageable, including the DO IT program (a four-day intensive diabetes “tune-up”), the Why WAIT program (a 12-week motivational weight loss program), and the numerous group classes such as the pump and continuous glucose monitor programs.
Well-versed (and helping patients) in all areas of diabetes, “every nurse here has a unique gift and style,” says Thecla.
Thecla likes to meet with patients who have mental health barriers in their care. Sue works with the pregnancy clinic and the insulin pump program. Stacey teaches about diabetes technology, such as pumps and glucose monitors, and educates young adults on proper type 1 diabetes care. Melissa and Laura specialize in weight management, and Mary Ann works with hospitalized patients.
The nurses at Joslin strive to make diabetes care fit as seamlessly into day-to-day life as possible by getting to know their patients and understanding the ways they like to live their lives.
“It’s a special relationship,” says Thecla. “We really care.”