Written by student writer; Michelle Glathe
MEPN student, Michelle Glathe teaching a camper how to draw up insulin
About 20 USD MEPN students had the pleasure of participating in Camp Wana Kura 2017 as medical leaders in training, this past week. Prior to this experience, most of us had little exposure to the rigorous requirements those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes must adhere to 24 hours a day. This camp, made possible by the American Diabetes Association, is a 4-day camp at Santee Lakes for children with type 1 diabetes ages 5 -13.
Campers are divided by age into units of about 14 campers per group. Each MEPN student was assigned to a camp unit and with the support from the Medical Leader (RN or MD), shared the responsibility of the diabetes management and medical record keeping of each camper in the given unit. As the campers arrived with their parents or caretakers, MEPN students registered each camper, noting their morning blood sugar, amount of insulin administered, and their current feelings towards the day ahead and/or blood sugar related symptoms. Throughout the day, the role of the MEPN student was to increase their own awareness and decision-making related to blood sugar management such as determining appropriate insulin dosing during snacks and lunch.
Calculations and delivery technique of subcutaneous insulin injections aside, the most important insight MEPN students received simply came from asking a camper (of any age) living with type 1-diabetes questions such as; “What does a high/low blood sugar feel like” or “How does diabetes affect your sleep” or “When the ‘numbers’ get you down what do you do to feel good about yourself” – MEPNs quickly learned no answer is the same and every child with type 1 diabetes is managing this challenge in their own unique way.
A group of MEPN students along with the RN from Monarch School and a camper.
Overall, the USD MEPN nursing students gained valuable insight and knowledge about the chronic condition of type 1 diabetes from those who know the disease best – those living with it, in this case, the campers.
Dr Marsh teaching a camper how to inject his insulin