Diabetes Educator of the Month: Martha Teter

Martha Teter, RN, M. Ed., CDE was selected as the Diabetes Educator for Western Ohio in 1991, and is a member of the Dayton Area Diabetes Association. She is presently the coordinator of the Diabetes Education program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio.

A glowing letter of nomination was submitted to DIABETES HEALTH by members of one of her support groups. Following excerpts from the letter is an interview with Martha Teter.

The Diabetic Support Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center would like to nominate our diabetes educator, Martha L. Teter, R.N., M. Ed., CDE, for Educator of the Month. We would really like to nominate her for Educator of the Year, but we will settle for the month.

She has evening enrichment programs, goes to the pediatric clinic and wards to teach, goes into the schools and talks to students about diabetes and teaches school nurses, teachers, and secretaries diabetes care.

This wonderful lady has done all this and still has been helpful to each of us. She has done so much for us we would appreciate it if you would consider her for the Educator of the Month.

The Diabetic Support Group


DI: How long have you been involved with diabetes education?

MT: For about 16 years now. I was always interested in teaching. In fact, I was a teacher before I got into health care, so, when this job came along, I was really excited to be teaching again.

DI: What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

MT: I love sitting down with patients and helping them to reach their goals. I like helping them to set a goal and watching them take the steps to reach it.

DI: What type of patients and conditions do you see the most of in your work?

MT: Most of the time I see patients with type 2 diabetes. I also see some patients with type I, but not many. I have about 20 children that I follow. I also see all of the patients who have gestational diabetes. My clinic is mostly an education clinic, so the patients also have physicians that they go to.

DI: With so many older patients do you find it more difficult for them to change their eating habits than younger people?

MT: I think it’s hard for anyone to change a lifestyle. I think if you’ve already learned how you like to eat and enjoy yourself it’s going to be hard to change that.

DI: What is the hardest part of your job?

MT: The hardest part is not having enough time in my day to do everything I want to do. In addition to coordinating the diabetes education program in the clinic, I also see patients and participate in support groups and attend diabetes related meetings. However, there is plenty more that needs to be done.

DI: What do you do in the support groups?

MT: The support group that wrote you the letter is a group that gets together and talks about whatever issues are on their mind at the time. They decide what they want and need to talk about. Often they read books about diabetes together and discuss them.

DI: What do you think is the most helpful book about diabetes?

MT: Well, the support group just got done reading Living Well With Diabetes from the I.D.C., I really like that one.

DI: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to people with diabetes?

MT: Never give up. Never expect to be able to live the program perfectly for every minute of every day forever. Know that lapses will happen and don’t let them get you down.