Carol Brunzell, a registered and licensed Dietitian and a certified Diabetes Educator who works at the University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview, talks about her job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I work with pediatrics and adults. I work on a team with each adult patient's provider and with a nurse who is also a certified diabetes educator. My adult patients may have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, be pregnant or have developed diabetes during pregnancy. I take a health history and an extensive diet history and ask what they want from me. I compare their usual diet with their blood sugar patterns and insulin or diabetes medication. I help them control blood sugars by teaching them how to count carbohydrates. I also help them with diet changes to help lower their blood pressure and blood cholesterol. I also encourage activity and follow them for weight loss if needed.
With the pediatric population, I work in a clinic with an endocrinologist, a diabetes nurse educator and a psychologist. I also see diabetic patients who have other diseases, such as celiac disease and kidney failure.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger health care picture?
A: It's cost-savings prevention. Many studies have shown that diabetics who get education do much better than those who don't. Plus, diabetes is an exhausting disease and I'm here to help.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with patients and their families, nurses, doctors and psychologists.
Q: Why did you become a dietitian who works with diabetics?
A: I had been working at the university hospital for 10 years and had worked in the diabetes clinic as part of my outpatient practice. They opened a new diabetes education program in 1997 and asked me to work here.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: It's an ever-changing, interesting and exciting field. I enjoy getting to know people and trying to help them.