Eileen Corkery started her career as a visiting nurse, bringing healthcare into peoples’ homes. Fifteen years later, she’s still educating, but now people come to her.
Corkery is the Adult Diabetes Education Coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Their program is large, treating over 1000 patients in the diabetes clinic every year.
Corkery coordinates a monthly class for people with diabetes that provides information and teaches self-care skills. The class, recognized by the ADA, is held each month over a course of four afternoons and just about anyone can participate. The most vital element a person can bring to the program is a willingness to learn.
In the Mount Sinai program Corkery and other educators instruct people with diabetes about the importance of monitoring their blood glucose levels, taking their medication, and watching their diet.
Corkery, who has worked with people with diabetes since she began her career in 1980, meets individually with patients to tailor instruction to their personal needs. The program also distributes issues of DIABETES HEALTH in order to give patients the most up-to-date information.
She finds that most people are very anxious to begin taking better care of themselves.
“The most important thing a person with diabetes can do is learn everything they need to know-how their medicine works and how to test their blood sugar,” she says. “Once they learn the ‘how,’ the trick is to translate the learning into action.”
Corkery, who does not have diabetes herself, brings such enthusiasm to her classes that her students can’t help but take a positive attitude toward their self-care.
Mount Sinai also offers a program for people with visual impairment. Corkery is proud of her participation in this program, which instructs blind or visually disabled people with diabetes how to use assistive devices in order to get proper doses of insulin and monitor blood sugar.
“I’m often told how satisfied patients are after learning the self-care skills-it’s easy to be at a loss about self-care when you’re visually impaired. We help people get past that.”
Unfortunately for Mount Sinai, Eileen Corkery is getting married in September and is relocating to West Virginia. She has not yet decided where she will take her services, but she definitely plans to continue working in diabetes care.
If you are interested in the Mount Sinai program, which will continue after Corkery leaves, call (212) 241-2254.