Diabetes: Community Teaching Experience

Summary of Teaching Plan

The community teaching plan aims to inform the vulnerable population about the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity and develop their skills of using a blood glucose self-monitoring test and a mobile app for diabetes management. The designated topic is secondary prevention and screening for vulnerable populations, which is rural adult citizens with prediabetes conditions at a high risk of developing Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. The behavioral learning theory was utilized in the course of teaching. The overall purpose of the teaching initiative was to change the participants’ healthcare-related behaviors and lifestyle attitudes to improve their skills in prediabetes management. The behavioral learning theory allowed for encouraging practical skills and behavioral habits to integrate into the community’s routine. Following this purpose, four behavioral objectives were pursued by applying appropriate methods.

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Firstly, the objective of healthy diet knowledge and use was addressed from the perspective of the affective domain to stimulate the participants’ attitudes toward food as the source of nutrients if they select their products wisely. Secondly, the objective of promoting physical activity was addressed within the cognitive domain. The goal was to familiarize the patients with the benefits and crucial importance of exercise in maintaining healthy body weight and blood glucose levels. Thirdly, the skills of blood glucose self-monitoring were planned to be developed within the psychomotor domain. The students would acquire practical skills of using test strips and interpret the results based on their knowledge gained in class. Finally, another important practical skill of eHealth application use was set as an objective for this teaching intervention. Lecturing, demonstration, questions, and answers, students’ individual, group, and work in pairs were planned to be applied to facilitate the participants’ development in the identified domains.

Epidemiological Rationale for Topic

The choice of the population of students and the topic for the teaching initiative was validated by the acute nature of the problem and the rising prevalence rate of Diabetes Mellitus in the USA and in the world. According to statistics, “more than 29 million people in the United States and 420 million globally have diabetes, with a projected global prevalence of 642 million by 2040” (Reusch & Manson, 2017, p. 1). People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and must be targeted as the primary audience for community teaching. It is believed that the dissemination of practical skills and healthcare knowledge to improve people’s lifestyles and minimize their risks of developing dangerous comorbidities (Rutledge et al., 2017). In addition, rural citizens are recognized to be at higher risk of suffering from diabetes and its complications due to the limited access to preventative care (Rutledge et al., 2017). Since adults with prediabetic conditions residing in rural areas are a vulnerable population, community teaching of self-management and lifestyle improvement is of particular relevance and value.

The chosen topic is relevant to national and global health care initiatives’ objectives. It addresses one of the most severe and growing epidemics that takes the lives of many people annually. The Healthy People 2020 goals that recognize diabetes prevention as one of the core elements of effective health promotion are the epidemiological rationale for the chosen teaching topic. When developing the community teaching plan, the teacher consulted the goals under the D-16 category, which necessitates to “increase prevention behaviors in persons at high risk for diabetes with prediabetes” (Healthy People 2020, n. d., para. 20). The subcategories of this goal prioritize a healthy diet, physical activity, and blood glucose monitoring as the necessary aspects of adequate preventative care. Based on the proposed rationale, the intervention was planned and implemented within the realm of the outlined objectives, goals, domains, and methods.

Evaluation of Teaching Experience

The planned intervention with students was conducted at a long-term facility with the students that have been allocated from the patients of the facility on the basis of their compliance with the targeted audience characteristics. Although the number of participants was not as high as anticipated, the activities that had been planned were successfully completed. This teaching experience evaluation allows me to reflect on my choice of methods and techniques, as well as the communicative devices and problem-solving tools in building an effective interaction with the students. Also, I have a chance to understand the importance of health care professionals’ contribution to community knowledge about tentative health issues. The information we choose to deliver, as well as the form in which it is distributed, predetermines the population’s perception, use, and ultimate outcomes for their conditions. Thus, the process of evaluation allows for determining the success and imperfections in the achievement of teaching goals.

An experience evaluation might be carried out in various forms. As Chalmers and Hunt (2016) state, one might identify four sources of evidence that serve as a basis for teaching evaluation. They include “student input, student achievement, peers and colleague,s and self-assessment” (Chalmers, D., & Hunt, 2016, p. 29). In a similar manner, the evaluation of the community teaching experience was evaluated by collecting feedback from the students, and the assessment of their understanding of the material learned throughout the intervention. Each of the four objectives was evaluated as per students’ understanding of the material and ability to use the newly acquired skills. On average, most students demonstrated good results and admitted the positive impact of teaching on their diabetes prevention awareness and self-management skills.

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From the perspective of colleagues’ and administration’s evaluation of the teaching process, the information obtained from the provider of health care, which is the long-term facility, was used as the basis for evaluation. The provider administration representative identified positive aspects of the structure of the teaching plan, which included a sufficient number of objectives that were addressed by comprehensive and affordable means. Also, it was identified that the execution of the teaching plan was successful since the patients’ needs for gaining information were satisfied, their questions were answered, and guidance for further self-education in the field of diabetes management was provided.

Most importantly, self-assessment of my teaching experience allows me to determine what goals and objectives were successfully accomplished and what might have been done differently. Such community teaching projects are important to evaluate because the results show the gaps and provide a basis for improving the following projects. The ability to connect with the served population in real life after having collected statistical epidemiological information about them allowed me to concentrate more on people and their immediate needs than on the theoretical perspectives of health issue prevention. Overall, the experience with the patients met my expectations; I managed to present all the data I intended to and teach the students all the skills that were planned.

Community Response to Teaching

Since the participants were selected on the basis of their compliance with the requirements of the project and oe voluntary grounds, the majority displayed interest and concern about the issues raised during the class. In general, the community responded well to teaching by active engagement in the activities and asking questions for clarification and a more in-depth understanding. The objectives that had been planned for teaching matched the needs of the community and were favorably perceived as the knowledge and skills the students lacked.

At times, I noticed that some of the students lost interest and demonstrated their reluctance to engage in lengthy theoretical explanations because the information was not new for them. I might have initiated a quiz before the beginning of the teaching to identify what the participants already know. If I had that information, I could interact with those individuals and engage them in a conversation when delivering new knowledge to the rest of the group. Although active listening was encouraged throughout the session, some students remained silent and did not actively participate in question and answer sessions, and were shy when working in groups or pairs.

As anticipated, some barriers obstructed the learning process. They included distractions, an odd number of students for group and pairs’ work, and some technical difficulties. Most of the barriers were overcome by means of effective communication, although the reluctance of older patients to participate in using the mobile application was very strong. When collecting feedback from the students, I identified that three of the four objectives were successfully achieved. As for the last one dealing with the eHealth application use skills, the unpreparedness of some individuals to use gadgets obstructed their positive perception of the activity. The general atmosphere was positive, with the focus on the benefits of self-monitoring as the foundation for a healthy lifestyle and the elimination of the risk of comorbidities and complications. I think that I managed to provide the students with support and encouragement that they can cope with the difficulties they might be facing. Thus, the ultimate goal of teaching was achieved.

Areas of Strengths and Areas of Improvement

My teaching experience allowed me to make an impact in the community and improve the quality of knowledge and skills of the target population. The research I conducted for the project helped me build a substantial theoretical and evidential ground to provide the students with valuable and informative answers to their questions. Well-planned activities also contributed to the strengths of my project since I incorporated skills practice, perception-changing, and knowledge-building exercises that are vital for people with prediabetes. Other strengths are that I managed to mitigate problems in the class, establish effective group communication, and solved organizational issues in a timely and friendly manner.

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However, since my plan particularly relied on work in pairs and groups, some of the learning activities were not fully successful due to the uneven number of participants in the group. I had to improvise and change the tasks’ descriptions to a little extent to match the group. Also, I overestimated the technical skills of the target audience when teaching the use of the eHealth app for diabetes self-management. Some of the elderly patients had limited technical skills, and it was challenging for them to keep up with the instructions. I had not predicted such conditions in my initial plan, but I managed to provide these patients with flyers that instructed them to use the application in detail. Overall, my project fulfilled the community’s needs for informed self-management strategies, awareness about their current conditions, and the risks they are exposed to. The most important information was successfully disseminated and positively perceived by the students, as well as practical skills were taught and practiced.

References

Chalmers, D., & Hunt, L. (2016). Evaluation of teaching. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 3, 25-55.

Healthy People 2020. (n. d.). Diabetes [Data set]. Web.

Reusch, J. E., & Manson, J. E. (2017). Management of type 2 diabetes in 2017: Getting to goal. Journal of the American Medical Association, 317(10), 1015-1016.

Rutledge, S. A., Masalovich, S., Blacher, R. J., & Saunders, M. M. (2017). Diabetes self-management education programs in nonmetropolitan counties –the United States, 2016. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 66(10), 1-6.

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NerdyRoo. (2022, February 25). Diabetes: Community Teaching Experience. Retrieved from https://nerdyroo.com/diabetes-community-teaching-experience/

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NerdyRoo. 2022. "Diabetes: Community Teaching Experience." February 25, 2022. https://nerdyroo.com/diabetes-community-teaching-experience/.

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