DPC14 – By @UnderstudyPanc


Last month, I somewhat tentatively made my way up the country to Liverpool, the venue for this year’s Diabetes Professional Conference, hosted by Diabetes UK. I say tentatively because despite a decade of amassed experience I am nowhere near to being a qualified healthcare professional. I worried about feeling like a fraudulent idiot, rubbing shoulders with people who work day in and day for people with diabetes.

I needn’t have been concerned. Far from feeling like the hiding child in a staff room, I really relished the opportunity to listen to lectures and engage with hcps and other professionals in the fields of diabetes care and research. It was encouraging to hear so many clinicians talking about care that stems, first and foremost, from the patient themselves. True engagement and support for a PWD comes, I feel, from putting that person’s needs and hopes squarely at the centre of any treatment or support being planned. Fail to listen to that voice and you fail the person who carries the diagnosis. For that person is not the sum total of their diagnosis. It is a part of them. It shapes their decisions they make daily, but is not the one defining facet of their makeup.

Many professionals I spoke to were curious about the world of social media. Some were already implementing a hugely positive programme of engagement through the use of social media. Those, however who were not familiar with the medium were more often than not, curious. This I took to be a good thing. Only a handful of years ago these are people who may have scoffed outright at the prospect of using something like social media to communicate with a patient. Now, these same clinicians are seeing the merits of communicating in a format that their patients are comfortable with. Because when the patient is relaxed and happy the clinician should see a far more honest reflection of that person, who they are, what they like to do, their triumphs and their struggles. That way they can truly identify the issues that matter to that patient, not what a clinician thinks should matter to a patient. The two things can often be polar opposite!

As we start to see more hcps engage with us through social media, my hope is that we will take the time to guide them and show them the direction in which we would like to see them head. It is too easy for us to sit back and criticise when we know little of budget constraints and policies that may take too much of their focus in a clinical setting. If we see a clinician venturing into our social media world, it is my hope that we would lead by example and show them the kindness and patience that we may sometimes crave from them, whilst we show them how to navigate this new territory that they have decided to embrace. That way, the next time we venture into their clinical setting, they may just remember their bewilderment and how the kindness and patience shown to them really makes all the difference to a person’s mood.

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