Pulling Together for Diabetes


Jocelyn Martin, Dietitian, Diabetics Centre, Eastern Health

Jocelyn Martin, Dietitian, Diabetic Centre, Eastern Health

I have been an employee of Eastern Health since 1986. I am a Clinical Dietitian and work as a part of the multidisciplinary team for Diabetes Education Services.  From the early days, I have had the privilege of working with some very dedicated and passionate health professionals who work tirelessly on behalf of those living with Diabetes.  I must say, their passion and dedication has been contagious!  As a result, 26 years later I continue to love to come to work every day and to be a part of a great team of people who help those with Diabetes manage their condition and lead healthier lives.

Comprehensive care

Diabetes care has traditionally been provided by a multidisciplinary team, usually a physician, nurse educator and dietitian along with the most important member – the patient.   I have learned that many other team members are also needed to provide comprehensive care for this very challenging condition.

The rates of Diabetes in our province are exploding and new technologies for managing the condition are changing rapidly.  At Eastern Health, our team and our program has evolved and expanded greatly in the last four years, placing us in a better position than ever to face these challenges.

This story is about change, challenge, opportunity and teamwork!

Evolving to better our care

In 2009, the Diabetes Education service at both adult city hospitals relocated to Major’s Path to a beautiful, spacious facility to better serve our patients.  It is a pleasure to come here every day!  2010 brought further changes when this service became the Regional Adult Diabetes Program for Eastern Health and also that year, an Adult Insulin Pump Program was announced by the provincial government.  This resulted in significant increases in the number of insulin pump patients requiring our services and additional staff to meet these demands.   Throughout these transitions, we have been simultaneously dealing with the retirement of many skilled health professionals.  Together, these changes presented many obstacles, but through them we have also found many unique opportunities.

Although things don’t always progress as quickly as we may like, we have a number of successes to share.  To guide our transition and programming, a Regional Diabetes Steering Committee was formed.  Nursing and dietitian clinical leadership roles were established and new policies and procedures developed.   Several new nurse educators and dietitians have been trained and have achieved national certification in diabetes education.  Training for all staff continues on an ongoing basis to ensure that we are up to date with the newest technologies and practice guidelines.  We have revitalized some of our existing programs and added new ones, the most recent being an Insulin Pump Education Program at the Major’s Path site.  There has also been an expansion of Nursing and Dietitian services in some rural areas and many other improvements to our service are in progress.

Inspired by our patients

Pulling Together for Diabetes, image of nurse and patient

Pulling Together for Diabetes, image of nurse and patient

Our whole reason for being is to serve the adults of our region who are living with Diabetes and all of these changes directly benefit those individuals.

Facing these challenges has taught me a lot about teamwork and the importance of expanding the traditional team to find unique solutions and strategies.  I have been impressed by the contributions made by nurses, dietitians, physicians, dietetic Interns, professional practice consultants and all levels of management to name a few.  There are countless others who contribute to our knowledge and growth.  I have been inspired by all of them but by far, most of my inspiration comes from the very patients we serve.

Every day they face many hurdles and the courage and perseverance they demonstrate, makes me want to do my very best on their behalf!   While we are very much a work in progress, we are pulling together to offer better services to those affected by Diabetes.

This story was written by Jocelyn Martin, a dietitian with the Diabetic Centre on Major’s Path in St. John’s.

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