Diabetes Educator of the Month: Laurinda Poirier, MPH, RN, CDE

Nomination Letter:
It is our great pleasure to recommend our colleague, Laurinda Poirier, MPH, RN, CDE, Director of Clinical and Educational Services here at the Joslin Diabetes Center, for your “Educator of the Month.

” Laurinda’s expertise in diabetes education and tireless commitment to diabetes services quality improvement, diabetes and women’s issues, clinical services, and innovative team approaches, all contribute to her being the most influential and recognized educator of our organization. She regularly burns the midnight oil to benefit our patients with diabetes and to develop and explore new diabetes education programs.

Laurinda’s level of professional function is a great compliment and complement to the diabetes field. She is dedicated to forging clearer and easier paths to help empower patients with diabetes improve their own health and interactions with their family and friends.

Laurinda values teamwork and collaborative efforts. She utilizes these principles successfully among her colleagues locally, regionally, and nationally. She is an active member of many non-profit diabetes groups. Her clinical management philosophy is patient-focused. She works with others to help them develop better ways to meet the health needs of people with diabetes.

A clear example of how Laurinda has performed to improve patient care is her recent direction of the development of Joslin’s Intensive Diabetes Therapy (IDT) program. She facilitated the planning efforts of key Joslin Boston departments and our national affiliated centers, reviewed all pre-existing Boston and affiliated IDT information, and consolidated the information into a 30-page IDT Instruction Manual. When asked what motivated her to do this effort, her simple reply was “to help Joslin’s patients, and improve the quality of care we provide to them.” In our opinion, Joslin’s newly promoted Intensive Diabetes Therapy Program would not have happened without her.

Laurinda is a top-notch member of our team.

Submitted by:
Edward S. Horton, MD, and John W. Hare, MD
Medical Directors, Joslin’s Affiliated Centers Program


DIABETES HEALTH: How long have you been involved with diabetes education?

Laurinda Poirier: 10 years. I got involved mostly because of my own ignorance. When I was a staff nurse, I realized how little I knew about diabetes, so I signed up for a “Vermont Winter Weekend,” a three-day weekend for children and teenagers with diabetes. They got me hooked. I like the education of patients, giving people with diabetes the capability to help treat themselves. I was hooked on what I could do for people, and how we could work together to overcome the daily challenges and help people live a happier, freer life. It was working with the kids that did it.

DH: What do you enjoy most about being a diabetes educator?

LP: I like being able to work with other professionals to create programs and opportunities that help people feel more in control of their diabetes, and I like it when a patient leaves my office with a tip or idea that will help make the difference in their health care strategies.

DH: What is the hardest thing about diabetes education?

LP: The hardest thing about diabetes education is not having reimbursement for education. That creates a barrier between people and the diabetes education they need and want.

DH: What type of patients do you work with?

LP: I work with young adults and adults with either type I or type 2 diabetes, with treatment ranging from oral agents to intensive insulin therapy. It’s a real variety.

DH: What advice would you give to patients and educators about improving diabetes care?

LP: For educators, I would say that the best method of learning about diabetes is from the patients that you work with. Also, there are no such things as “do’s” and “don’t’s” in diabetes. Our role is to be troubleshooters and activists for people with diabetes.

For patients I would say that it’s important to work with a team of people who understand diabetes and appreciate the challenges of living with diabetes. You should learn as much as you can so that you better understand the options available to treat diabetes, and the impact of those options, so that you can make a more informed decision.

DH: What is your favorite diabetes book or publication?

LP: I don’t have one; there are so many that are very good. I guess I would answer that by telling you what type of book I think is the best. The type of book that I like most is one that reinforces essential facts but focuses on the day-to-day practical aspects of living with diabetes, the psycho-social aspect. I like books that teach as well as inform.

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If you know an educator who stands out in the field, send us their name, phone number, and the reason for your nomination.

To locate a Certified Diabetes Educator near you, call 800-832-6874 (800-TEAM-UP-4).

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