You may have heard stories about how difficult it can be as a nurse or CNA to care for a patient with diabetes, but this isn’t always the truth, although there can be challenges at times. A lot of this depends upon the patient’s age, and their other health conditions. For example, if you’re dealing with an elderly patient that has refractory diabetes, you might have a difficult time with that. If you’re dealing with a younger patient who can control their diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes, then it should be easier to care for them.
Diabetes can be a tricky thing for CNAs and RNs to handle because patients don’t always follow instructions. It’s common for patients to be told to stay away from foods containing excess sugar and they simply ignore the instructions and eat what they want. This is more common with both older and younger patients, but it seems to have more of an impact on the blood sugar level or older patients.
There are other problems that CNAs and nurses face when dealing with diabetic patients such as complications from the diabetes. Blood sugar levels that are high over time can lead to a number of problems with patient’s internal organs, and other parts of their bodies. Diabetic patients are also more susceptible to other illnesses because they don’t heal as fast as have suppressed or weakened immune systems. It’s important to note that not all diabetic patients suffer from complications from their diabetes, but they are simply predisposed to them, and because of that they may require extra care from their providers or medical staff.
As a CNA, if you don’t feel qualified to care for a patient who has diabetes, it’s important that you talk to your supervisor, the head RN, or someone above you on the medical staff so they can assign someone else to your patient or they can help train you so that you are comfortable in providing care to that specific patient. At the end of that day, everyone’s main goal in a care setting should be to provide the highest standard of care possible, and with that said, everyone needs to continually work together as a team in order to make this happen. That’s one important aspect of medical care and medical professions—teamwork, everyone needs to be a team player and work together in spite of their differences for the benefit of the patients. So, in the end, it’s not always difficult to care for a patient with diabetes, but it can be, and the more you work together as a team, the easier it will be and the care that you deliver will also be better.
As we talked about in our previous post, CNAs are generally prepared to take care of diabetes patients with a few exceptions. Patients who require extra care and have extremely difficult or refractory diabetes aren’t covered in the general CNA training that most people take, but that doesn’t mean that a person can’t learn to care for them on the job. But what about when people take their CNA classes online? Are those people prepared to care for individuals with diabetes?
You might be surprised to know that first of all, people can’t actually take their entire training course online. Despite whatever ads you’ve seen, it simply isn’t the case. Each state gets to decide which classes it will and will not allow people to take online, and in all cases, there’s are no states that allow students to take all of their CNA classes – online. The reason for this is that you need to be in person in order to understand some things, and you just can’t get all of the instruction and physical time to practice things if you don’t set foot in a classroom. With that said, there are some states that do allow people to take a certain portion (usually the lecture portion) of their CNA course on the internet.
This lecture portion is very comparable to the normal, in-person class time that you’d have it you were taking a traditional CNA course, so it essentially covers the material in the same depth. One downside to taking CNA training courses online is that if you have a question about the material, you can’t simply raise your hand an ask your instructor; you have to write an email or send a message and then wait for them to respond. Many people find though that they’re able to save a lot of time by taking classes like this because they can get things done during the day when they’d normally be at class, and then work at night on their homework.
It’s important to note though, that taking classes online isn’t for everyone, and some people don’t do well in this setting. If you’re someone who learns well on their own, and doesn’t have a problem being self-motivated, then you’ll likely do well in this setting. However, if you need more direction and find yourself needing to ask questions of your instructors frequently, you might be better suited to a more traditional learning environment. This really depends upon the person, so it’s important to think about things on an individual level. If you’re looking for additional information about online training and the field of nurse assisting, there are a variety of sites online where you can find more information.
Certified nursing assistants go through rigorous training, and this training helps to prepare them for a number of situations, but many people have wondered if CNAs are qualified to deal with a person who is diabetic. The answer is, yes, most CNAs can care for a diabetic person, although the exact care that a person needs will depend upon their unique situation.
For example, a person who is extremely insulin-dependent will need a much higher level of care compared to a person who isn’t insulin-dependent and can manage their diabetes with dietary and lifestyle changes and might be able to manage their illness without the use of insulin. CNA courses may prepare someone to understand what diabetes is, how it can affect people, and some basic principles. However, these classes don’t cover in depth management techniques, and they also don’t cover issues that can come up with individual patients, as a lot of these skills will need to be learned on the job. There are a variety of courses and training that prepare a person to become a CNA or even something beyond. If you’re a CNA and want to become an LPN for example, you’d need to learn more about Certified Nursing Assistant to LPN courses, or other ways that you might be able to make that transition.
In terms of just being a CNA, the various CNA training courses that are available to most people generally do a good job of preparing prospective CNAs to deal with general medical issues, it’s understood that with any medical career you’re going to have to do a lot of on the job learning, and continuing education in order to stay current with the latest developments and breakthroughs in medicine. Some day there may be a cure for diabetes, or better treatment options, and in this situation, what’s taught to CNAs and what they practice will change dramatically. There’s no way to know where medical science will go, but the most important thing that a CNA who wants to provide top care to diabetes patients can do is work hard to stay current on the latest information.
It’s also important for nursing and medical staff tasked with the challenge of caring for diabetes patients to make sure that they communicate well and truly understand their patient’s needs. Each individual patient will respond differently to insulin and diabetes treatments, and because of that their care needs to be tailored to their needs in order to effectively manage their condition. All too often, medical personnel and staff take a blanket approach to dealing with diabetes patients and this tremendously degrades the quality of their care. Make sure that you take the time to listen to your patients and they will be able to tell you most of the time what it is that they need. In the end, they will fell more respected and cared for, and their level of care will be as high as it can possibly be.
Lots of people wonder about the differences between an RN and CNA are in terms of their knowledge about different subjects. The truth is that there is quite a knowledge gap between the two, but it’s not really fair to compare them because they are totally difference professions.
A CNA is an assistant to an RN, and basically helps take care of patients and do things that helps the RN free up his or her time. CNA programs are much shorter than RN programs, so it isn’t really fair to compare their knowledge, especially about a complex medical condition like diabetes. The knowledge than an RN brings to their job is substantially more simply because their training is more intense. In school, they can devote and entire unit or portion of a semester to the study of diabetes, where a CNA can only devote a class period, or maybe even less. The biggest factor is length of education, and CNA programs only last a matter of months, where RN programs last at least 2 years, but can be 4 or more if the person attending school wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
On top of that, some RNs work in specialty clinics, and there are specialty clinics devoted entirely to diabetes, and in those situations, a specialty RN’s knowledge of diabetes would far surpass that of a CNA and even a regular RN. Because CNAs can’t specialize in anything, they don’t have the option of undergoing this additional training.
The main thing to take away is that RNs and CNAs are two very different professions, and because of that they are prepared differently, and their knowledge varies. This doesn’t mean that CNAs are unqualified, or less capable of doing their job than an RN—in fact, nothing could be further from the truth! Most CNAs do an excellent job, and are very good at what they do. The truth is that many people use the CNA profession as a stepping stone to becoming an RN, and it’s a great way for people to try out nursing to see if they like it before spending all the time and money on becoming an RN only to later realize that it’s not a profession they want to pursue. The bottom line is that each profession is different, yet essential to the care of patients, and any person that chooses either career will be a valuable member of the medical staff wherever they choose to work.