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Diabetes Victoria Blog

Join the discussion in our blog where a variety of writers from all walks of life take a stance on current diabetes issues.

Nurses make the difference in diabetes management

World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated every year around the globe on 14 November, to mark the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered the medical use of insulin, along with Charles Best, in 1922.  

This year's theme Nurses make the difference focuses on promoting the role of nurses in the prevention and management of diabetes. In order to do this, we spoke with our very own diabetes nurse educator, Catherine Amadio, about some of the work she does here at Diabetes Victoria. 

Cath AmadioFirstly Cath, could you tell us a little bit about what kind of work you’re involved in at Diabetes Victoria? 

As a diabetes nurse educator (DNE) at Diabetes Victoria, the work is varied and interesting. One of the primary roles of a DNE at Diabetes Victoria is to respond to calls from the NDSS Helpline. The questions or concerns that people have range from being simple and straight forward to very complex, so I need to stay up-to-date with current evidence-based practice. I’m also involved in different projects and programs. I am a facilitator of the OzDAFNE program and deliver webinars as needed. I write articles and develop information for people living with diabetes and health professionals. I also manage a team of DNE’s and support them in their roles and responsibilities which (in addition to the above) include: 

  • facilitating type 2 programs such as DESMOND 

  • running Feltman training and developing resources to support the use of Feltman 

  • training teachers and other staff in the care of children with diabetes in schools and early learning centres 

  • the delivery of consumer webinars and programs. 

Next up, we’d like to know what you love most about being a diabetes nurse educator? 

I love having the ability to hone in on a person’s needs and goals and being able to support them in a way that is suitable for them. This means supporting my clients with their diabetes goals, which ultimately supports their life goals. 

How did you end up in this career? Were you inspired by someone? 

I was looking to combine a nursing career with education, so when I saw an ad in the newspaper for a diabetes education role, I was excited. It led me to attain qualifications in diabetes education and allowed me to start a new career. Once I started working in the diabetes education space, I found I enjoyed the role more than I ever thought possible. It helped me to grow as a health professional and as a human being.  

After 18 years in this role, I realise I still have so much to learn. My biggest learning was to discover that I am not just an educator but a student continually learning from people with diabetes and other colleagues. 

What is the proudest moment of your diabetes education career so far? 

It’s very difficult to choose one moment because it’s all the little moments that are my greatest achievements. For instance, when a client says they aren’t afraid of hypos anymore because they feel confident counting carbohydrates and matching insulin. Or, when attending a children’s diabetes camp and a child turns to their mum at the end of camp and says, ‘this has been the most fun I’ve ever had! Here, it’s normal to have diabetes’. These are the proudest moments for me. 

Lastly, and certainly not least, do you have any words of advice for people wanting to have a career in the diabetes nurse education space? 

I think it helps if you have a few years of experience in your chosen discipline before embarking on a career in diabetes education. This helps with consolidating the knowledge you obtain with the knowledge and skills you already have. In addition, you need to have a thirst for learning and a sense of curiosity to be able to obtain detailed information about individuals with a complex condition. Above all and most importantly, you need to have empathy and compassion for other human beings who may be experiencing fear, anger, anxiety or distress about a condition that is with them for life.   

A big thank you to Cath for taking the time to share some of her wisdom. 

If you’d like to learn more about diabetes education, stay tuned for our special edition World Diabetes Day podcast out this Thursday 12 November. Our host Jack Fitzpatrick talks with diabetes nurse educator and midwife, Deb Gooley, about her career, and how she has supported people living with, or affected by, diabetes in these roles. 

You can also check out our latest Back to Basics video below which explains the role nurses play for people living with diabetes.

Lastly, remember to thank your diabetes nurse educator for all their support, because nurses sure do make a difference!