The road to becoming the Manager of Diabetes Care and Education at Cleveland Clinic wasn’t direct, but Shannon Knapp, BSN, RN, CDCES, found her role in nursing. Building on all of her previous experiences, she is making a difference in the lives of patients.
I went into nursing to help people. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. In 2003, I needed a change after a 9-year career in business. I wanted to “make a difference.” Becoming a nurse made sense, and personal experiences helped me to identify my North Star, a job as a Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist (CDCES). However, I did not achieve my goal overnight. I am grateful that after earning a BSN, my career path included inpatient nursing, home care nursing, and ambulatory diabetes education. Each role taught me important aspects of patient care and helped to prepare me for certification as a CDCES.
One of my most memorable experiences as a CDCES happened when a patient with an A1C over 10% was referred to me for diabetes education. She was on an insulin pump using high doses of insulin. Over the course of several diabetes education visits, I taught her how to use her pump effectively, how to read her pump download reports, and how to fine-tune her carbohydrate counting. About six months after my first visit with her, I received a voicemail message. The caller did not leave their name, but I knew exactly who it was. The voice said, “Shannon, this is 6.5 calling. Give me a call back.” I returned the call, shed some tears of joy about her target A1C level, and congratulated her on all her hard work.
Today as the Manager of Diabetes Care & Education at Cleveland Clinic, my visits with patients are less frequent. I now have the opportunity to help patients through my support of an innovative team of passionate and skilled educators. Every so often, however, 6.5 calls to say hello, reminding me that knowledge is power and that every nurse makes a difference.