SON professor front and centre at charter launch
When the Diabetes Charter for Canada was unveiled across the country recently, School of Nursing professor Renee Crossman was front and centre at the St. John's portion of the event.
That's because she has a professional and personal interest in diabetes.
"I was fortunate to speak to my own experience as a person living with Type 1 diabetes," said Prof. Crossman, who also mentors the School of Nursing's student-led chapter of the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Already an adult when she was diagnosed in October, 2007, Prof. Crossman says life for her and her family has not been the same since. "That's when a lifetime of management began - checking blood sugars, counting carbohydrates and for me, using insulin, all in an effort to keep my blood sugars within my target range.
"Life has become a balancing act, one that requires a constant state of vigilance."
The Diabetes Charter was developed in response to the growing prevalence of diabetes in the country, with Newfoundland and Labrador having the highest rate at 11.4 per cent.
More than nine million Canadians, or one in four people, are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and it's predicted that number will rise to one in three by 2020.
The number of people with diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to increase from 57,573 people in 2014 to 96,840 people in 2032. The incidence of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is on the rise; especially for Type 2, which has been linked to obesity.
With such a high incidence of diabetes in this province and across the country, Prof. Crossman says it's essential that nurses and nursing students, along with other health care providers, understand the holistic nature of diabetes in order to provide high quality care.
"A diagnosis of diabetes not only impacts on the physical - but also on the psychological and emotional aspects of a person's well-being. Achieving those target blood sugars takes a lot of hard work, dedication, persistence and courage. Most importantly, people with diabetes need support and understanding."
The Diabetes Charter speaks to the rights and responsibilities of people with diabetes, their health care providers and governments. Issues such as access to diabetic supplies and fresh, nutritious food, as well as access to diabetes education and support can be obstacles to maintaining optimal health and well-being for people with diabetes.