Home' International Nurses Day : Intenational Nurses Day Contents NAA H54
THE AGE Saturday, May 8, 2010
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From left: diabetes
nurse Gifty Dade chats
with Cheryl Steele.
Nurses are in a perfect position to
empower people to better monitor and
control their diabetes.
Nurses play a leading role in
reducing the impact diabetes
has on the individual, their
family and society. They are in a
perfect position to help people
understand, monitor and control their
Cheryl Steele, a diabetic herself, is
the Manager of Diabetes Education at
Western Health. She leads a team of
diabetes educators who help sufferers
better manage their condition and
maintain optimal health.
''Nurses have to obtain specialist
post-graduate qualifications to
become a diabetes educator, it's a very
complex area,'' she says. ''Our nurses
have the expertise to help people
manage their condition and reduce
both the short-term and long-term
complications of the disease.
''We can help sufferers reduce
episodes of low blood-sugar which
can lead to loss of consciousness and
hospitalization. Similarly, we can help
them reduce the incidence of high
blood-sugar which can also cause loss
of consciousness and in extreme cases,
lead to death.
''Maintaining an ideal blood-sugar
level is a fine balancing act
which involves using a blood-
glucose monitor four times a
day; taking medication via an
insulin pump, injections or
orally; regulating your diet as
well as making adjustments
to counter the effects of
''For example, various
lifestyle factors will affect a
person's blood-sugar level --- stress will
increase blood-sugar; exercise will
reduce it and certain foods will
elevate it quickly.
''A diabetic needs to understand
how these factors affect them and
what adjustments they can make to
get the balance right.''
The long-term complications of
diabetes can be devastating if it is not
managed properly. Long-term effects
include eye disease leading to vision
impairment; kidney disease requiring
dialysis and nerve damage which can
lead to lower limb amputation.
Ms Steele says the role of a nurse
educator is to impart the latest
information, empowering a patient to
self-manage their condition, improve
their quality of life and longevity.
''We also provide motivation and
psychological support. We show
people how to recognize 'hypos' (low
blood-sugar) and 'hypers' (high blood-
sugar) so they can adjust and
administer their medication
Ms Steele says she has seen
''significant'' advances in treatments
for type 1 diabetes over the past
decade or so.
The biggest breakthrough, in her
opinion, is the insulin pump. In fact
Western Health is recognized by the
Australian Diabetes Educators
Association as a national centre for
excellence in insulin pump therapy.
''There have also been significant
developments in the insulin we use; it
is a lot more effective,'' she says.
''Oral medications (for the treatment
of type 2 diabetes) have also
improved and the latest monitoring
machines are more accurate and
require less blood.''
Ms Steele says nurses are an
integral part of a team approach to
diabetes care: doctors make the
diagnosis and prescribe the medication
and the nurse educators make sure
the patients understand what the
medication is for, how it works and
what to do if it is not as effective as
it should be.
To find an accredited diabetes
educator, go to www.adea.com.au
--- ALICE ARCHER
For more information on working at Northern Health or to view current
positions available visit us online at www.nh.org.au
ses have made a significant contribution to the health care of our
diverse Northern community.
This has been displayed in all of our care settings and services.
n achieved by a combination of individual effort, team work (both
sing and multidisciplinary teams), a committment to professional
development and eagerness to respond to our patient's needs.
lth operates ve major public healthcare facilities. Our campuses provide a unique
es including medical, surgical, emergency, intensive and coronary care, paediatrics,
n s and maternal health, mental health, aged care, palliative care, and rehabilitation
hese are provided through inpatient, ambulatory and community-based programs.
y the rewards of working in a strong, dedicated team providing health support and
expanding communities of Melbourne s north then look no further than a career at
hern Health Nurses .....
Good Patient Care
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