Diabetes Educator of the Month: Jean Konrady, RN, CDE

Jean Oswald Konrady, RN, a diabetes educator at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla., died in August. She was 43 when she lost her battle with breast cancer.

The letters of nomination and newspaper clippings sent by her husband, Walter Konrady, outlined the overwhelming amount of work she accomplished in her “tragically” short life. For her work in the diabetes care field, Konrady has been named DIABETES HEALTH’s educator of the month.

He pointed out that his late wife’s life was not just a series of degrees and awards, but, rather, an inspirational story for other diabetes educators.

“Jean was not a diabetic, nor did we have diabetes in our families,” Walter Konrady said. “She saw the need and took it on as a project. The project turned out to be her way of showing love and compassion to all those who knew her.”

A 1975 graduate of the University of Missouri/Columbia, she earned a master’s degree in nursing in 1977.

After completing her Masters, Konrady began her work in diabetes care at Sarasota Memorial Hospital as a clinical nurse specialist in diabetes care. She went on to work as an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the Gulf Coast Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, was a clinical diabetes educator at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and eventually earned the honor of being the Program Director in Diabetes Treatment Services at Sarasota Memorial.

Her work appeared in many publications, including The Capsule, Nursing Research, and Missouri Nurse, and she also wrote three booklets for use in patient education.

Born on March 15, 1951, in Boon-ville, Mo., Konrady moved to Sarasota in 1977, where she began her work at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and met her husband.

Konrady was recognized world-wide for her work and dedication to diabetes care. She received a national award from Novo-Nordisk Pharmaceutical Company and the American Association of Diabetes Educators for her work in developing the first computer data base management system for use in patients with diabetes -a model which is now being translated for international use. Her bedside blood glucose testing program was noted by inspectors as being “worthy of being a nationwide model.”

According to her friends, Jean Konrady’s achievements could probably fill this whole page, but, as her husband put it, “She was a very modest person, but she got a lot done quietly.”

Konrady’s family and friends hope she can be an inspiration to other diabetes educators who, after hearing about this noteworthy educator, will pick up her torch and light the way for people with diabetes everywhere.

Memorial donations can be made in Konrady’s name to the Gulf Coast Diabetes Foundation, P.O. Box 31119, Sarasota, FL, 34232.

If you know an educator who stands out in the field of diabetes education, mail us their name, phone number and the reasons for your nomination.

To locate a certified diabetes educator near you, call (800) TEAM-UP-4 (832-6874).

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