World Diabetes Day is a time for all healthcare disciplines to reflect on the huge epidemic and socioeconomic impact this disease has on the world. All too often, I have seen the negative results of this disease state. I have seen the frustration from both patient and healthcare providers (HCPs) with the lack of treatment choices and poor participation from patients about their plan of care.

As a registered nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I serve an important role to help people with diabetes create the needed lifestyle changes that will delay and even possibly prevent diabetes complications. In addition, we help motivate individuals with diabetes to become actively involved in their care.

Playing an important role during clinical trials

Did you know that nurse educators can also play a vital role during the drug development process? Clinical Trial Educators, or CTEs, act as liaisons between the trial sponsor, CRO, research investigators and staff to communicate concerns, needs, outcomes, goals and best practices learned during the course of a trial. The CTE is viewed a valued member of a multiple disciplinary team of professionals.

Not that long ago, I was asked to join a small team of CTEs on a project that had a new approach for treatment for those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. For this particular trial, I was astonished with the cutting-edge technology and humbled to be a part of this ground-breaking diabetes treatment. In my CTE capacity, I train HCPs on the technology to ensure success of device placement and medication compliance.

I feel like a true pioneer. Working on the clinical trial for this new innovative diabetes therapy is exciting. All the stakeholders have worked together seamlessly to ensure the correct use of the technology, and we’ve seen first-hand how it has benefited patients participating in the trial. Once the product receives regulatory approval, this diabetes treatment option will offer a choice that has never been available to those patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

While I am very honored to be a part of getting this innovative treatment closer to market, happily my involvement will not end there. Once it receives regulatory approval, I will have the unique opportunity to follow this diabetes product into its commercial phase as a Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE). As a CNE, I will be the nurse who introduces this product to the appropriate audiences. HCPs, patients and insurers will benefit from the resources, education and training I can offer. I’m extremely passionate about educating and advocating for a diabetes product that can provide patients with a new way to help control their disease.

Empowerment for better outcomes

When I think about my role as a diabetes nurse educator, the word “empowerment” comes to mind. I empower my patients to help them reach and sustain their health and lifestyle goals. I empower HCPs so they are able to recommend more diabetes treatment options for their patients as well as provide more in-depth patient training and education to improve medication adherence. And in a small way, I help empower the industry by actively participating in the development of some really exciting technologies, which will hopefully lead to even more cutting-edge treatments of care.

For me and my fellow nurse educators, it’s all about creating an endless circle of care, choice, communication and improved outcomes for the patients and clients we serve. Sharing talents, bridging the gaps and working for the good of the patient is how we will drive healthcare forward.

This post was co-authored by Heidi Boadway, RN, MHA, CDE, a clinical trial educator at QuintilesIMS