Anna Vannelli, a dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Park Nicollet International Diabetes Center and at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, talks about her work.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: In the clinic, I usually have four new patients and four to five returning patients. They maybe have Type I, Type II or gestational diabetes or are at risk for diabetes. I give ideas and work on setting goals for behavior change. A nurse and I determine if their medicines or their diet are working and what I can do to help them. Hospital patients are a lot sicker, so I have to make the education part easy for them to understand when they go home. I get a list each day of hospital patients with high or low blood sugars and I work with physicians to change their medicines or their diet to alleviate those highs and lows.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
A: I'm teaching self-management and that leads to fewer hospitalizations and fewer clinic visits, which is good for the patients and lowers health care costs.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with patients, physicians, social workers, floor nurses at the hospital, scheduling staff, medical assistants, clinic nurses, my managers and other diabetes educators.
Q: Why did you become a diabetes educator?
A: I did an internship here and had a really great experience learning a lot more about diabetes than I ever did in school. That really sparked my interest in specializing. I saw how different every day could be and was so impressed with the dietitians who were doing so many great things.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: I get a lot of feedback from patients. It makes me feel good to know that I'm helping that person improve their health.