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Q&A: Carolé Mensing on Education for Patients and Professionals

Carolé Mensing, R.N., M.A., C.D.E., Joslin’s Manager for Clinical and Education Programs

Monday, April 04, 2011

Carolé Mensing, R.N., M.A., C.D.E., Joslin’s Manager for Clinical and Education Programs, is chief editor for the comprehensive desk reference, The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education, 2nd edition. Here, she answers questions about diabetes self-management education and this newly published resource for professionals.

How did you first become a diabetes educator?

I’m a registered nurse, and a clinical nurse specialist by profession, but a diabetes educator by choice. I like the format that educational theory offers and the creative tools that educators use to put concepts into practice. In my practice, I prefer to offer assistance to colleagues and patients to help them make informed decisions and problem-solve, rather than just give the standard “cookie-cutter” information.

Who collaborated on this book?

I happen to be the chief editor and have read every word, but the book is really the compilation of many people who are very dedicated to diabetes. The staff at American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conceived the idea of the first edition of this reference book. Together we found enthusiastic colleagues who gave of their time and knowledge to write, review and critique the content for both editions All of the material in the reference book is referenced and peer-reviewed.

Why the “Art and Science”?

As educators know, the focus of our practice is on the “art” of the educational process, and individualization for each patient. The “science” provides the structure and supports the actual clinical practice.

Who is the target audience?

This book is designed for two levels for both clinicians and educators, in all disciplines. It’s designed for a basic health care professional learner who’s just getting into diabetes and wants a strong foundation in education. The reference book is also aimed at the experienced educator clinician who has a plethora of background skills and talents, and might need to support their practice.

What’s new in this edition?

The AADE models seven behaviors: eating right, medications, lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, problem-solving and coping. We base the book on this AADE 7 ™ model.

The new edition adds detailed content for these behaviors and importantly on the actual educational process and the history of education, and complements this with a chapter on program management. (I‘d like to shout out to Joslin’s Melinda Maryniuk, Debbie Butler and Sherry Smith-Ossman for their help—it takes a village!)

At the end of every chapter are educational pearls of wisdom, related to the teacher/educator/ clinician and the learner, with callouts of interesting and important points. Importantly for educators, there is also a focus on determining health literacy and practical implementation tips for the practice setting.

So the book also provides a lot of guidance about how to present the material?

Yes, the teaching concepts are there. Education can be a slippery slope, because you’re never quite sure that patients are understanding and you’re never quite sure they can apply what they’ve learned to their individual setting. We want to make sure that educators are given supporting tools and examples on the assessment process, and information on how to follow up with problem-solving. The book offers a variety of relevant examples.

As a diabetes educator, you get very used to teaching content, and not so used to getting the feedback to make sure that it’s being learned. Doing a lot of teaching over the years, throughout the United States as well as internationally, I learned that we all can use a refresher on how we conduct our assessments. The bottom line is that our patients will tell us how and what they want to learn if we let them.

What are some overall trends for delivering diabetes education?

One is the computer. Patients have access to a whole lot more information, so they’re researching on their own and often are far more knowledgeable. But not all the information they gather may be correct for them. We still need to promote a mix of medical face-to-face educational interventions with the social networking, so that what they’re doing is beneficial to them and not harmful.

To this end, the reference book includes a CD, which can serve as a ready reference for the educator and act as an e-book.

Carolé Mensing, R.N., M.A., C.D.E., Joslin’s Manager for Clinical and Education Programs

Page last updated: September 23, 2014