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Ellen Dorsey, RN, has been with Sharp HealthCare since 2002, where she worked as a clinical nurse in maternal infant services at Sharp Mary Birch. In 2005, she also worked per diem as a diabetes educator for hospitalized patients at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Since May 2012, Ellen has been a full-time diabetes disease manager for Sharp Rees-Stealy. She received her bachelor's of science degree in psychology at Bowling Green State University and then attended Mount Carmel School of Nursing.
How did you choose to work in the field of disease management?
Through working per-diem as an in-patient diabetes educator, I realized how wonderful it would be to work with these patients to prevent hospitalization. As a disease manager, I can intervene with a patient’s diabetes management, build more of a relationship and feel like I can be more effective.
What do you do in your role at Sharp Rees-Stealy Disease Management?
I see my role at Sharp Rees-Stealy Disease Management as a very comprehensive one. I utilize analytical skills when I look at the overall patient picture: the medications, labs, reviewing progress notes. I apply people skills to develop rapport and trust with the patient so they will be honest about the barriers to their diabetes management. I use organizational skills to efficiently utilize my time to plan, make phone calls and complete documentation.
How do you help your patients succeed in managing their chronic disease?
I feel I help my patients to be more successful by developing measurable, realistic goals with them to give them a sense of mastery over their disease. I praise their accomplishments, however small, and encourage them when they get off track. I educate them on their disease so they understand the importance of their medications and how much better they will feel once they are consistent with taking them. I also explain that a log of their blood glucose gives me the information to make changes and communicate with the doctors.
What is the key to self-managing a chronic disease?
I think the key to self-management of a chronic disease is consistency and perseverance. A lot of my patients tell me how life’s challenges can often get them off track. Perseverance helps them get back on track and move forward. Exploring ways to problem solve with the patient to become more consistent is challenging but pays off when they get better blood glucose numbers and lab results.
How do you stay healthy?
I try to stay healthy by achieving and maintaining a balance in my life between work, social and hobbies. I also try to increase my awareness of the balance between mind, body and spirit.
For More Information
To learn more or to speak with someone to determine if you're eligible to participate in a Sharp Rees-Stealy disease management program, please call 619-446-1571, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
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1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
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