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Rebecca Abernathy, RN
How did you choose to work in the field of disease management?
Honestly, the job found me. After I learned about the job I thought that it was a great opportunity to help change people's lives for the better.
What do you do in your role at Sharp Rees-Stealy Disease Management?
I call patients and try to help empower them to take control of their diagnosis, whatever that may be. When people have lived with a certain "illness" for a long enough time they sort of get depressed when they think that they are not progressing and then give up. It's my job to show them that one slipup is not the end of the world and to keep with the program.
How do you help your patients succeed in managing their chronic disease?
By helping to empower them so that they feel like they have some control over their "disease." Also by letting them know that the small steps are sometimes more important than the big steps. Too many times people think that they have to come out of the gates swinging, when in reality they are much more likely to be successful one small goal at a time.
What is the key to self-managing a chronic disease?
By setting realistic goals and following through. It's easy to say "sure, I can train to run a marathon," but who is truly going to do that? I think that oftentimes people get a diagnosis and feel that they can conquer it all in a month or two. What we have to get people to realize is that this is lifelong journey, and lifestyle changes have to be made and maintained. Also, learn not to punish themselves if they cheat from time to time. Who doesn't need an ice cream and a slice of pizza now and then?
How do you stay healthy?
By walking and trying to maintain a "healthy" diet. Good health to me is a mind, body, spirit connection, and if any of the three is off center then it can have a trickle-down effect on the other two. You need an hour a day to recharge yourself so that you can function for the rest of the day (minus sleeping time of course, and I firmly believe in 8 hours of that!).
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.
I believe excellent health is an essential ingredient to happiness, which is life's ultimate goal."
1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
If you have any additional questions,
send us an email using our secure contact form.
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