$1.4M grant funds nursing program, benefits diabetes patients

$1.4M grant funds nursing program, benefits diabetes patients
A $1.4 million grant will fund the Nurse Interprofessional Team Leader Certificate program. The program focus will be team care of type II diabetes patients. Photo by Promise Yee

REGION — Vista Community Clinic recently received an unprecedented $1.4 million federal HRSA grant to fund the Nurse Interprofessional Team Leader Certificate program. A public announcement of the grant award and program was made Aug. 14.

The HRSA grant is usually awarded to major hospitals. The grant award speaks highly of the clinic and its proposal to forge a partnership with CSUSM School of Nursing and CSU Institute for Palliative Care to train nurses and enhance medical services for Type 2 diabetes patients.

The program will offer senior-year BSN nursing students the opportunity to learn and practice the principles of team-based care by working with a team of medical professionals at the clinic who serve diabetes patients.

Patients will benefit by being assigned a doctor, lead nurse, care coordinator and nutritionist who will work together.

“The approach is unique in (that) its a full team,” Fernando Sañudo, Vista Community Clinic CEO, said.

Previously a patient would see each professional separately. The team approach unites efforts.

Type 2 diabetes was selected as the focus of the program because of the high number of diabetes patients served by the clinic and the positive impact patients’ lifestyle changes have on the condition.

Hereditary predisposition, poor diet and lack of exercise are contributing factors to developing Type 2 diabetes.

Sañudo said while diet and exercise can be modified, patients often feel they have no control over the condition.

“With the team approach we’ll teach you, you have to take control,” Sañudo said.

The patient will be an active part of the team, and be educated on steps to establish and maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The clinic presently serves 800 hard-to-manage diabetic patients with hemoglobin A1c, also known as blood sugar levels, greater than 9 percent.

“Over 7 (percent) and a patient is considered prediabetic, we’re looking at diet and exercise,” Sañudo said. “8 or 9 (percent) and we’re considering the patient taking insulin.”

The Nurse Interprofessional Team Leader Certificate program will serve 500 of the clinic’s hard-to-manage diabetic patients.

Final planning and hiring additional care coordinators to begin the program are in progress.

Clinic patients will be invited to participate in the program in October.

During the three-year program data will be collected to measure patients’ improvements and the program’s success.

The team approach and partnerships with local universities are expected to continue beyond the three years of program funding.

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