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Educational Strategies for Diabetes to Patients Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2022

More than 180 million people in the world are diagnosed with diabetes, and the alarming number is expected to double by 2030 (Corser & Xu, 2009). These alarming statistics make diabetes a major health concern, and as patients have to struggle with the disease for the rest of their lives, the educational strategies for diabetes education to patients need to be developed and enhanced.

It is true that considerable success has been made in the treatment of diabetes, however very little is published on the limitations and difficulties in applying effective strategies that patients with diabetes may successfully integrate into their lifestyles (Nagelkerk, Reick, & Meengs, 2005). The Journal of Advanced Nursing reports that “The most frequently reported barriers were lack of knowledge of a specific diet plan, lack of understanding of the plan” (p.156). With this in mind, it becomes absolutely essential to implement a strategy of educating newly diagnosed diabetic patients, since they have little to zero knowledge on how to maintain and manage normal blood sugar. An effective education strategy lies in developing a collaborative relationship between nurses, registered dieticians, physicians, and patients. The educational strategy needs to be two-sided, implying that not only the patients, but also the nurses, dietitians, and health-care professionals need to be educated on how to communicate with the patients in simple terms, and ensure that the patients perceive the information.

A positive learning environment needs to be established with the support group encouraging patients to make alterations to their life style. Furthermore, the newly-diagnosed patients need to be educated on how to manage blood sugar when the body is stressed, and how to handle high and low blood sugars. The success of patients in taking diabetes under control may be measured by their ability to adhere to specific educational strategies, however as practice shows, patients reluctantly follow a predetermined set of strategies over the course of their life (Funnell & Anderson, 2004). This phenomenon of patients’ behavior highlights the importance of early implementation of strategies for newly-diagnosed patients. The patients who incorporate diabetes educational strategies from the genesis of the disease are more likely to stick to them than those who realize the need for educational strategies to be implemented long after they’d been diagnosed with diabetes.

The common mistake in applying strategies for diabetes education is when the strategy is designed to fit patients’ diabetes, but is not tailored to fit patients’ priorities, values, and lifestyle (Funnell & Anderson, 2004). With this in mind, educational strategies designed within our project take into account personal and psychological factors of the patient. The health-care professionals examine the adult learning style characteristics along with the culture and ethnicity, age and aging, gender and literacy levels before coming up with a strategy tailored to individual patient’s needs.

To align the educational strategies with patients’ goals and objectives, each patient will be taught how to manage the blood sugar level in his particular case, whether the blood sugar drops due to illness, pregnancy, or in stressful situations. The patients will share their signs and symptoms, and the most appropriate strategy will be offered to them on a case-by-case basis. The patients also need to be armed with the strategies preparing them for potentially stressful situations, such as eating out or exercising. Examples should be given on how to plan, prepare, and tackle the challenges so that they eventually become an integral part of their life.

It is also crucial for doctors to teach patients when they can manage complications on their own, and when they need to seek emergency care. Educational strategies for diabetes education in the past were focused on doctor-patient relations mainly, where the doctor was viewed as an authority, and great effort was made to encourage the patient to follow the recommendations made by the health professionals. Practice shows that this strategy is not effective in diabetes care (Funnell & Anderson, 2004). Taking the above into account, the educational strategies offered within our project make a shift from doctor-patient relations to patient-patient interaction. The educational strategy, where doctors are viewed as mentors or moderators, and patients interact and share their experiences within a group, is deemed more effective and provides better patient engagement. The learning strategy within our project invites a patient to make his own choices and decisions following the support group interaction. Furthermore, when patients interact with other patients, they may be more open and share more among each other. In developing successful educational strategies, it is important to realize that even doctors with over 20 years of experience in treating diabetes are not always adequately trained in educating patients. While they possess profound knowledge in the subject matter, they often don’t have the right methodology in conveying their knowledge to patients. Taking this phenomenon into consideration, our project educates not only the patients but also the health- care professionals who are trained in adult learner characteristics.

Summing up, the dynamic interaction of patients and health-care professionals may streamline and enhance the educational strategies for diabetes education to patients. The appropriate strategies in educating diabetes patients may be instrumental in making a positive change in their lives.

Reference List

Corser, W., & Xu, Y. (2009). Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 24(2), 172-178. Web.

Funnell, M. M., & Anderson, R. M. (2004). Clinical Diabetes, 22(3), 123-127. Web.

Nagelkerk, J., Reick, K., & Meengs, L. (2005). Journal of Advanced Nursing, 54(2), 151-158. Web.

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