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CVPH Nurse's Passion Benefits Diabetes Patients

Catherine “Franke” LaPier, BSN, RN, CDCES, is on a mission to make a difference with our patients who have diabetes.

LaPier recently took on a new role as Certified Diabetes Educator at The University of Vermont Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH), with a focus on inpatients. Her work includes meeting with those admitted to the hospital who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or who may have prediabetes.

“I try to take a realistic approach,” she explains. “I tell them I’m not there to punish them or yell at them. I want to talk to them about the disease, help inform them and educate them so they can better manage it, while understanding that they may have barriers to overcome that they may or may not have control over.”

Advocating for patients comes naturally for LaPier, and it is a big reason why she is in her new role. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a teenager, she understands the power education can have for patients working to manage the disease and the unique perspective and ability to relate that she can provide. As a registered nurse on the floors and working at CVPH Endocrinology, she noticed many patients were unaware of important information that could be a big help in living with diabetes.

That led to a realization that there is a big opportunity to positively impact patients in the North Country: providing education can help decrease length of stay, improve outcomes and reduce readmissions.

“I realized that my passion could make a huge difference, not just for patients with diabetes, but for the hospital and our community,” LaPier says.

It has already made a difference, with LaPier offering that 95% of patients are open to the education she provides, clearing up many misunderstandings they have about diabetes.

She is also leading the charge to educate nurses and support staff, so they can help provide that same knowledge to patients when she’s not available. And she continues to build bridges with providers across all care areas, so they know about the resources she can offer.

“So much of me is nursing and diabetes. I’m fortunate to have found my passion, and am beyond thrilled that I can use that passion to help others,” Franke adds.

LaPier is also working to provide more education to the community in general. This includes a new Diabetes Self-Management Program sponsored by the hospital. LaPier and fellow Certified Diabetes Educator Ann Watts are leading the program, which kicked off in November 2023. The classes are designed specifically for those with Type 2 diabetes. They will include practical information focused on successfully managing the disease, including:

  • The impact of food and activity on blood sugar.
  • The importance of glucose level monitoring.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Exploring medication options
  • Preventing, recognizing and treating complications.

A physician referral is required for the CVPH Diabetes Self-Management Education Program. Insurances will be billed, however all government and private insurances will cover the cost. Some may require a copay, which will be billed by the hospital. The program will be offered periodically throughout the year and at different times of the day to provide ample opportunity for those interested to attend. For more information, call Ann Watts at (518) 314-3921.