My role as the inpatient Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is incredibly rewarding and diverse. I focus on the health of patients with diabetes across the adult hospital enterprise. I educate patients, staff & students, participate in quality improvement initiatives, contribute to hospital policies that affect our patients, and participate in data collection & evaluation.
I see a variety of patients, who are newly diagnosed diabetics, make the safe transition from hospital to home with the knowledge they need to care for themselves. I am fortunate to work with great bedside nurses, nurse leaders, NPs, residents, endocrine fellows, case managers, dietitians and social workers.
Learning the Survival Skills needed to transition home safely on insulin can be daunting without a team approach. This past January and within days of each other, we had 2 college students admitted to the MICU with newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes. There was no greater satisfaction than to see how a well-executed plan came together for both these individuals. It was amazing to participate in such a team effort that had these young adults quickly seen, medically managed, educated, and ready for discharge in such a smooth fashion. Kudos to the NPs, staff nurses and dietitians who helped manage and educate these two patients. An early call for a consult can make all the difference in how well-prepared patients are to take on challenges inherent with significant lifestyle changes.
Consulting on difficult patients is one of the favorite parts of my role. An example would be trouble-shooting how best we can transition a homeless patient back into the community. I also consult and mentor peers across the hospital, educating our newest nurses on diabetes medications, looking at adverse drug events, or looking at ways to improve documentation. I work with others throughout the organization in evaluating our hypoglycemic events, planning, implementing, and evaluating process improvement steps to safely care for patients experiencing glucose excursions.
An accomplishment I am truly proud of in this role was working with the Medication Policy Subcommittee on the Medication Infusion Devices from Home policy. We worked for many months in the development of the policy which, in part, provides patients admitted with insulin pumps safe management while hospitalized.
My career at Vanderbilt has definitely come full circle. I began my career here as a young nurse, fresh out of school. I returned after being away for several years and finishing graduate school at the Medical College of Virginia. I completed my MSN as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with a focus on the general and vascular surgery patient population. Ive been fortunate in having a great career here in a variety of roles, but I can say my role as the Diabetes CNS is a perfect fit.
On a personal note, I am the proud mother of 3 sons! My life has truly been an adventure with these 3 young men. Im looking forward to visiting Scotland in June. Well see what other adventures lay ahead!