SEARHC diabetes case managers earn CDE credentials

January 05 2012

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) diabetes nurse case managers Lisa Schwartz, RN, of the Haines Health Center and Julie Sturtevant, RN, of the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock recently earned Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credentials. The CDE credentials are from the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.

Certified Diabetes Educators are health care professionals from a variety of specialties who teach people with diabetes how to manage their disease. To earn the CDE credential, the health care professional must currently be employed in the field of diabetes self-management education and have a minimum of two years and 1,000 hours of work experience in the field before taking the credentialing examination (at least 400 hours of experience must come in the year prior to the application). Applicants also need to earn at least 15 credit hours of continuing education in the two years prior to applying. The CDE credential is valid for five years before it needs to be renewed.

Schwartz and Sturtevant passed the credentialing examination when they were in Anchorage to attend a diabetes conference in early December. They join Jennifer Henderson, RN, of S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka as SEARHC diabetes nurse case managers who hold the CDE credentials.

As diabetes nurse case managers and diabetes educators, Schwartz and Sturtevant teach people newly diagnosed with diabetes how to take care of themselves in their own homes, so they can avoid some of the complications that result from diabetes. They help the patients learn simple lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating habits and regular physical activity that can reduce the impacts of diabetes. They also provide support for patients and their families.

Schwartz earned a practical nursing certificate from Sheridan Vocation Center in Hollywood, Fla., and graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Marian University in Indianapolis. Before coming to SEARHC, she has diabetes education experience from Peninsula Home Health Care and Cornerstone Home Health, both of Haines.

“I enjoy working intimately with patients and family members to help them gain control of their diabetes,” Schwartz said. “When clients have better control of their disease they are more involved, positive and have better outcomes.”

Sturtevant earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore. She worked as a medical/surgical nurse and psychiatric care nurse for six years at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton and was a night mental health nurse supervisor for more than 10 years at Eastern Oregon Hospital and Training Center in Pendleton. After moving to Alaska, she took a break from nursing to complete Emergency Medical Technician I and Community Wellness Advocate training with the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus. She was a clinical nurse for seven years at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center before joining the SEARHC diabetes team in 2008.

“It is an exciting time to be in diabetes education, exploring and encouraging healthy eating, physical activity, and balance in work, life, family, community,” Sturtevant said. “Many have told me this is ‘living the culture and traditions.’ The opportunity to be a part of this journey back to wellness is a gift and honor for which I am grateful.”