Health Support Nurses

Diabetes' total impact on the body can be difficult to measure and treat. While nutritionists have an important role in diabetes treatment, it takes an extensive care team of medical professionals to fully care for patients. "Patients are at the center of diabetes care teams at Park Nicollet," says Kristen Kopski, MD, internal medicine at Park Nicollet Clinic-St. Louis Park.

"Primary care doctors, nurses, certified diabetes educators, nutritionists, endocrinologists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists and other specialists help patients reach their treatment goals," Dr. Kopski says. "Our goal is to keep people healthy and functional while avoiding complications."

Specialized treatment

"Since diabetes can affect many systems of organs, it may be necessary to involve many specialties in diabetes management," Dr. Kopski says. "Additionally, there are a number of ways diabetes can be treated. There are dietary, medication and exercise components," she says. "It is important for the patient's medications and lab tests to be carefully monitored. Also, managing complications may require a specialist."

Integrated medical records

At Park Nicollet, monitoring patients' medications and lab tests is simple for the entire diabetes care team. "An integrated electronic medical record system allows care teams to access patients' medical records, which store notes, patient medications and test results in one centralized place," Dr. Kopski says. "Having access to real-time data facilitates quality care and prevents duplication and unnecessary testing," she adds.

Support nurses assist patients

Many patients find health support nurses a great benefit of receiving diabetes care at Park Nicollet. "Health support nurses provide patients additional help with diet and lifestyle," Dr. Kopski says. "The nurses also assist with diabetes education and medication. If patients need to begin taking insulin, support nurses can teach them how to administer it properly."

Preventive care is critical

As the general population in Minnesota and the entire country becomes more obese or overweight, preventive care becomes critical in the fight against diabetes. Primary care providers, annual physicals and all medical visits play a role in monitoring and detecting the warning signs of diabetes. "Catching the risk early and helping people incorporate lifestyle changes can help prevent diabetes," Dr. Kopski says. "People who already have diabetes also can focus on making lifestyle changes, including healthy food choices, exercising to the best of their abilities and quitting smoking."

World-class resources

At Park Nicollet, people have access to many diabetes resources. International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet is a world-class program that provides education, conducts clinical trials and publishes materials for people with diabetes. "The center produces a large number of books, publications and other materials," Dr. Kopski says. Patients with diabetes also receive care by adult and pediatric endocrinologists at Park Nicollet Clinic-St. Louis Park. "We have many options for people to learn about diabetes and receive care," Dr. Kopski says. "Our diverse treatment team and facilities offer the perfect care plan for every patient."