Diabetes: Observations About Community Teaching

Summary of Teaching Plan

The goal of community teaching is raising public awareness of the necessity of diabetes management. Many people struggle with this disease and its potential complications. Diabetes is among the most widespread causes of death in the United States. Not only can it lead to a terminal episode, but it also significantly lowers the quality of life for people fighting this disease (Healthy People, n.d.). Therefore, teaching the community to recognize, prevent and cope with diabetes can have an overall favorable effect on the population’s well-being.

The first objective of the teaching plan is the identification of risks for diabetes complications. Once patients are aware of the developments, which can precipitate the negative disease outcome, they will be able to spot them and respond appropriately. A problem may arise when patients refuse to follow doctors’ instructions. Particularly, they may not be compliant with drugs and exercises necessary to combat the illness. It is essential to convey the negative repercussions of such shortsighted behaviour to them via interactive pictures to intensify the visual impact.

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The second objective is raising awareness of overall diabetes management during and after treatment. Much responsibility on controlling this disease lies on patients themselves. Nevertheless, many people believe that doctors and nurses do all the necessary procedures, which leads to the deficit of knowledge of blood sugar control procedures. Therefore, it is imperative to explain the importance of balancing glucose levels and showcase instructional YouTube videos to teach patients how to do it.

The third objective is stimulating behavioral changes in people with diabetes risk. In many ways, lifestyle predetermines the probability of a person suffering from this disease. It is important to explain what factors are essential in diabetes prevention. For instance, quitting smoking is a significant lifestyle improvement, which strengthens the immune system. Interactive pictures will provide examples of the necessary behavioral changes. Combined with multimedia materials accentuating the consequences of neglecting diabetes, these images will propel participants to make the necessary adjustment.

The fourth goal is to cultivate the self-monitoring skills in patients. Specifically, these people need to learn how to take the blood sugar test and interpret the results at home. Using a glucometer is the most basic skill, which can help detect complications in time. Aside from convincing diabetes patients of the importance of this test, it is vital that they are able to do it without qualified medical help. Moreover, regular doctor checkups ought to become a normal routine for patients with diabetes (Dornhorst & Merrin, 1994). Spotting the disease on an early stage makes treatment and recovery easier.

Epidemiological Rationale

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States. More than 20 million people struggle with this disease, the third of which are not aware of their health issues (Deshpande et al., 2008). This number is likely to increase as modern society creates favorable conditions for the development of diabetes and possible complications. In large part, this disease thrives due to ignorance surrounding health safety. Therefore, the most effective way to lower mortality rates due to diabetes is to make sure that the community fully understands the risk.

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The community should be taught to recognize diabetes because of the high probability of contracting it. Not only do many people have genetic predispositions to this disease, but numerous lifestyle choices can also precipitate it even if people have no diabetes history. Deshpande et al. (2008) lists among factors, which can lead to diabetes, “physical inactivity, poor nutrition, hypertension, smoking, and alcohol use” (p. 1257). These phenomena are extremely widespread, thus accentuating the necessity of preventative measures.

Aside from the high risk of falling ill, there are multiple complications, which can obstruct recovery. Diabetes consequences can affect many organs, ranging from the nervous system to the musculoskeletal system. Specifically, complications may manifest in “cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, blindness, and lower-extremity amputation” (Deshpande et al., 2008, p. 1254). It should be evident that all these conditions may have a detrimental effect on the overall quality of life. Therefore, the community should know the consequences of not taking appropriate measures against this disease.

Evaluation of Teaching Experience

Teaching experience is comprised of prior instances of mass education. In the past, numerous tasks were executed, which also required conveying important ideas to a largely ignorant audience. For instance, the idea of using visual materials to help explain the subject matter has proved effective in the previous teaching. An especially valuable finding was that the human mind learns exceptionally well with the use of associations. Not only do visual materials help the audience better understand the subject, but they are also more easily memorized.

Another discovery that was made to do teaching work concerned engaging the audience with interest. The common problem was that people were not motivated to learn because they did not realize the importance of the material. In these cases, all teaching began with the explanations and relation of the subject matter to the audiences’ lives. Using this technique helped attract attention and made overall teaching easier.

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Finally, the pandemic has forced changes in the manner of interacting with the audience. As close contact is no longer acceptable, social distance was prioritized in previous teaching sessions. Particularly, images, videos, and other multimedia helped avoid interactions in close proximity, while sustaining the audiences’ interest and relaying the material. YouTube platform was useful because it allows streaming educational videos and having viewers express their thoughts in the comments.

Overall, the teaching experience is multifaceted, yet limited in scope. Although community teaching has been performed on several occasions, it was not a systematic practice. Subsequently, the lack of experience with different audience reactions may result in ineffective communication. At the same time, the variety of interactions with previous audiences allows using multiple tools in the teaching process. Multimedia materials can take many forms, which can be adapted to educational purposes. Therefore, teaching experience may not be rich, but it is sufficient for educating the community on diabetes.

Community Response to Teaching

The community feedback was initially negative but eventually became positive. At first, the audience did not show much willingness to learn about diabetes. Many people assumed it was not an issue pertaining to them, while others did not realize the responsibility for their own health. However, once the community began to realize the full extent of diabetes risks and complications, it became more active in learning the material and acquiring skills.

The reasons for such behavior are explained by the Self-Determination Theory. It posits that there are two types of motivation, which can be autonomous and controlled (Skinner et al., 2003). Controlled motivation is driven by external factors such as money or appraisal. Whereas the autonomous one originates from inside the person. Once the community saw that diabetes prevention measures are done for the sake of their health, they responded positively to teaching because they were autonomously motivated.

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The participants also voiced their concern regarding the delivery methods. The target population incorporates elder generation, which means most of them are not used to social networks. Subsequently, it rendered the use of YouTube videos meaningless, as the participants did not know how to use it. It resulted in the lack of motivation because key points about diabetes were covered in those videos. This mistake was partially rectified by the practice sessions, where the idea of importance of regular checkups was repeated.

Areas of Strength and Improvement

The major strength of this community teaching lies in connecting with the audience on a personal level. By directly engaging the participants’ interest, the efficiency of teaching endeavor increases. The use of multimedia materials is also beneficial because visualization helps to memorize the material. Moreover, posting educational content online minimizes the necessity for the physical presence of learners, thus, respecting the social distance. Combined together, digital technology and the application of Self-Determination Theory strengthen this initiative.

At the same time, the use of educational videos is not as efficient for the older audience. Not only do these people better receive information in person, but many of them also do not use YouTube. As a result, some patients may have missed important information about diabetes complications because they were presented in a YouTube video. A potential improvement would be to use leaflets containing the same ideas on paper. This format better applies to older adults and improves their comprehension.

References

Deshpande, A. D., Harris-Hayes, M., & Schootman, M. (2008). Epidemiology of diabetes and diabetes-related complications. Physical Therapy, 88(11), 1254-1264. Web.

Dornhorst, A., & Merrin, P. K. (1994). Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 70(826), 529-535.

Healthy People. (n.d.). Web.

Skinner, T. C., Cradock, S., Arundel, F., & Graham, W. (2003). Four theories and a philosophy: Self-management education for individuals newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum, 16(2), 75-80.

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