On Saturday night, before delving into the craziness that was White Night, I attended the launch of a terribly exciting new resource. Enhancing Your Consulting Skills; supporting self-management and optimising mental health in people with type 1 diabetes is described as an ‘education resource for advanced trainees in endocrinology and other interested health professionals’. That’s right. It’s written for health professionals who will be working with and for people with type 1 diabetes.
I attended with a dear friend who shares my pancreatically-challenged state. We also share the same endocrinologist – one of the collaborators on the resource – and were there at her invitation. We know just how lucky we are to see an endo who understands self-management, ‘gets’ the fact that burnout happens and doesn’t have a judgemental gene in her body. We know that having an endo who we can email in between appointments is a privilege we would never abuse. And we know that living in the inner city means that we have access to healthcare that many others can only hope for.
Hopefully, this resource will mean better education of new endo trainees and that the care we are so fortunate to receive will be available to many more people with diabetes.
This resource is a huge step forward in medical education. It is the first time that the needs of people with type 1 diabetes have been directly addressed with a strong focus on self-management and mental health. As Professor Alicia Jenkins highlighted in her speech, people with type 1 diabetes spend, on average, three hours per year with their healthcare team. The remainder of the time we’re doing it alone. There is no treatment option other than self-management and an understanding of how HCPs can support that is critically important.
Endocrine trainee, Michelle, gave a candid speech how she has come to view people living with diabetes. She said that when she first started attending a young adults with diabetes clinic, she was frustrated and said that she blamed her patients for not getting the results she expected. This honesty was refreshing and it was so pleasing to hear how she now knows to focus on the positives rather than negatives when working with PWD.
Dr Jennifer Conn gave a warming speech about how she never stops learning from her patients. This humble attitude is one of the reasons that this book is so well written. It acknowledges the expertise held by the person who lives with diabetes and knows their condition better than anyone else possible could.
I looked around the room and saw that there with the glitterati of the diabetes HCP world, were some of the pancreati – the people with diabetes who the book was written for. It’s a tribute to the writers and organisers of the launch event that people with diabetes were invited.
I’d like to congratulate the team who have put this together, and the NDSS for supporting the development of the resource. This is a win for people with type 1 diabetes and I can certainly see similar volumes being written for type 2 diabetes and, indeed, other chronic health conditions.
At the end of the event, I wandered back out onto the Melbourne streets, waiting for nightfall when the city would light up and fill up with hundreds of thousands of people. I looked at my friend and thought how lucky we are – a night of Melbourne brilliance kicked off with hope for a better future for people with diabetes.
One of the collaborating writers involved in this resource is my endocrinologist. I was asked to provide comment on some sections of the book and my photo and a screen shot of this blog are included in the final book. I did not receive any payment for any of this involvement.
The development and printing of this book were funded by the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) which is administered by Diabetes Australia. I am employed by Diabetes Australia – Vic.