Nurse Educator Primes the PumpFor many people with diabetes, the decision to use a permanently implanted mechanical pump to deliver daily doses of insulin makes all the difference in their ability to manage the disease. The pump regularly delivers small doses of insulin throughout the day and night, eliminating the need to self-inject insulin shots. But for some, the thought of beingconnected to a machine 24 hours a day is intimidating. That’s where a good nurse educator comes in, providing patients with the training and knowledge they need to successfully manage pump therapy. And that’s why Jean Koepsell, RN, is considered one of the best. After all, Koepsell is not only a certified diabetes educator, she is a pump user herself.
for Patients with Diabetes
When Koepsell was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her mid-twenties, she was content in her career as a hairdresser. But during the course of her own struggles to manage and understand her disease, she decided she wanted to help others learn to live with theirs. Koepsell went back to school, earned a four-year nursing degree and joined the staff of the Froedtert & Medical College Neurosciences Center. She eventually made her way to the Diabetes Care Center, where she received the training needed to achieve certification as a diabetes educator.
Today, Koepsell is the Diabetes Care Center’s insulin pump nurse. "I work with patients from the moment they decide to get a pump until they are successfully managing it as a regular part of their lives," says Koepsell. In classroom settings and one-on-one sessions, Koepsell teaches patients how to use the pump so they can determine insulin doses needed to match blood sugar levels and the carbohydrate content of the food they eat, the basic techniques of intensive diabetes self-management.
Koepsell admits she tells patients they will still have good and bad days, becausediabetes is so unpredictable. But depending upon their lifestyles, she knows the insulin pump can give them greater flexibility in controlling their disease. "After I got my pump, I thought, ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’ Which is probably what 99 percent of all pump users will also tell you," says Koepsell.