August 29, 2022

Julie Loughran wins Credentialled Diabetes Educator of the Year

Julie Loughran, Diabetes Nurse Consultant, has received the award for ‘Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) of the Year – Victoria’ from the Australian Diabetes Educators Association.

A CDE is Australia’s go-to qualified healthcare professional for people with diabetes. They are qualified to provide a personalised approach to diabetes education and care. They work with other healthcare practitioners, and provide services to people with diabetes, to help empower and assist them in dealing with daily self-management.

Julie has been working in the diabetes profession for more than 20 years. She trained in the UK before she moved to Australia, 10 years ago. She has worked at Northern Health since her arrival in Australia.

Julie works with the inpatient team at Broadmeadows Hospital and Bundoora Centre, educating patients, carers and staff about managing diabetes. She has become a strong patient advocate for vulnerable people living with diabetes, older people with cognitive decline, dementia, and people living with disabilities.

“Safe discharge planning for this patient group is priority – often a lengthy process, but very rewarding. We help to keep people safe in hospital, and safe upon discharge, because most of the people we see are not able to self-manage their diabetes,” Julie said.

“Diabetes is very challenging to manage, and when people are in hospital, they are not living their normal life – they are not eating their normal food and they are in their normal routine, so it often upsets their blood glucose control.”

As a CDE, Julie believes patient education is vital when it comes to managing diabetes.

“Diabetes is a condition where you can feel quite well, even if the blood glucose is higher than it should be, so patient education can be quite challenging. In the inpatient setting, we do the essential part of patient education for safe discharge. When people are unwell, it is not the best time to educate, so we make sure people with diabetes and carers have the basic knowledge to go home safely.”

“We work very closely with the diabetes outpatient services at Northern Health, where further education takes place with the diabetes educator, and people can receive the whole educational package.”

Julie says she is fortunate to work with an amazing team of people who are very passionate about trying to improve the lives of people living with diabetes, and are constantly working towards improving the patient experience.

Julie has a great interest in audit, looking at what the team is doing, and why they are doing it, helping to ensure that patients receive the best evidenced-based care. The results of these audits has helped to produce educational tools to support healthcare professionals managing diabetes in the inpatient setting.

About 36 per cent of Northern Health inpatients have diabetes, according to Julie. She says education and preventative measures are key when it comes to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and making people aware of the risks diabetes can impose.

“There is a screening tool for type 2 diabetes – it is recommended people who have a high risk of diabetes are screened.”

Julie has been working on the Diabetes Learning Hub for Northern Health, where all members of staff have access to diabetes information, including The Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool.

“Working at Northern Health has been very rewarding. The health service is changing – it has changed since the day I started. What I do like is that Northern Health adapts to change, and it welcomes change. Our staff also adapt to those changes – Northern Health is very promising.”

Congratulations Julie on receiving this amazing award!