Melinda's Musings

Welcome to Melinda’s Musings – a site where I will periodically share some thoughts that I hope will inspire diabetes educators to think outside the box and be the best that you can be. After nearly 40 years of working for other healthcare organizations (most of that time with Joslin Diabetes Center) and having the privilege of working with diabetes educators all over the world, I’ve seen so many great things… and so much room for improvement. Email me with your feedback or topics you’d like me to address.

Just as we help our patient’s set behavioral goals, the beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on our own practice and patterns that can be improved. Think about these themes and write a SMART goal for yourself. Some suggestions to get you started are listed below.

Language Matters. Take time to examine the language you use when talking about diabetes. Read the recently published paper from ADA and AADE as well as the handy resources from AADE and think about how these can apply to yourself and your practice.

  • Review written materials used in your education program; discuss with other healthcare providers; create a customized version of “problematic” and “preferred” words
  • Schedule a meeting with the communications department in your healthcare facility and share the recommendations.

Quality Counts. Adopt the 10th edition NSDSMES*. Ensuring you are delivering quality care is key, regardless of whether your diabetes services are “recognized” or “accredited”.

  • Assess if you are offering information to patients on disaster planning so help them prepare for severe weather or situation crisis that could affect access to diabetes supplies.
  • Review the resources in the CQI toolkit if you are stuck on implementing meaningful quality improvement initiatives. You don't need to only measure behavioral outcome - but look at different things... including program or process outcomes.

Review Resources. I frequently remind educators that one of the best handouts starts with a blank piece of paper - on which both patient and educator write key points-to-remember and action steps. Don't overwhelm patients with handouts. Do help them be able to search for answers when questions arise, either through reliable websites or using the index in a diabetes manual.

  • Identify social media and online education groups that you'd be comfortable recommending to your patients. Two that I love for people with type 2 diabetes include: Diabetes-What to Know (for a very active Facebook support community and a excellent collection of short educational vidoes) and Tu Diabetes.
  • I'll post some of my favorite resources in the "cool stuff" section. Check it out - and email me to tell me what you love.

So... what's going to be your SMART goal for your personal improvement plan? As you improve... so will your patients!