Congratulations to Stephania Edwards, selected as this month's Health Hero! As a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, Stephania has a long track record of helping her patients manage their diabetes.
Q: How/Why did you first become interested in being a nurse?
I have always had a passion for helping people. Even as a kid it was one of my inclinations. I loved to play doctor! I continued helping people through my teenage years as a candy striper. When I saw what the nurses did and how they interacted with the patients I became very interested in starting a career as a nurse!
Q: What inspired you to become a diabetes educator as well?
I have type one diabetes and growing up I experienced all of the struggles that other people with diabetes have. For this reason, I can relate to my patients and feel as though they are comfortable opening up to me.
Q: As a diabetes educator do you teach classes and participate in one on one consultations? Tell us a little bit about your way of educating! What do you think helps patients succeed the most?
I do a lot of one on one consultations in the hospital and then when the patients are discharged I follow up with them to make sure they have the support they need. I also participate in monthly classes for newly diagnosed patients where we teach them about nutrition and other aspects of managing diabetes. I share my history to encourage them they CAN manage their diabetes. I especially like to alleviate any fears and myths they may have heard about diabetes. Some of the myths I hear are the patients think they are going to lose their limbs or that diabetes is a death sentence which is not true.
Q: Besides focusing on diabetes what other areas, if any, do you specialize in?
I mainly focus on diabetic and bariatric patients. I like to recommend the Extend Snacks to both groups of patients!
Q: If you had one piece of advice for all diabetics what would that be and why?
My one piece of advice would be to tell the patients to live life and to not let having diabetes discourage them from anything they may want to achieve in life.
Q: How did you first learn about Extend Snacks and what attracted you to utilize them with your patients?
I saw them at a grocery store and decided to try them out to manage my blood sugar and weight. I was then able to eat good snacks without the snacks greatly impacting my blood sugar! Based on my success, I then started recommending the product for my patients.
Q: What is the most popular snack flavor/format your patients like? What's your favorite for yourself?
A lot of my patients talk about the Extend Peanut Butter Crunch Bar and the Extend Vanilla Shakes. My favorite is the Extend Mixed Berry Bar!
Q: Do you have a specific Extend Snacks success story you would like to share with us?
I have heard a lot of the bariatric patients say they now eat a breakfast, an Extend Bar or an Extend Shake. Sometimes patients don't always eat breakfast when they should and grabbing a bar makes a pretty quick and easy breakfast!
Q: What aspect of your career do you enjoy most?
I enjoy my day to day interactions with the patients most. I like to give them comfort and share my personal experiences to let them know that they can manage their diabetes!
Q: What would you like to see in healthcare in the future to have more effective diabetes education?
In the future I would like to see healthcare cost in general go down. I would like healthcare to be more accessible to patients of a lower economic status. I would like to see patients have better coverage for diabetes education classes so that patients would be more willing to attend classes without worrying about the cost so much.