Nurse Practitioner, Assistant Professor/Associated Director DNP
Advanced Practice Program
Johns Hopkins University
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Susan Renda, nurse practitioner and a certified diabetes care and education specialist for Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, worked even harder to assist her patients, even if that meant embracing telemedicine.
“As a clinical nurse practitioner, I care for patients with diabetes and their multiple co-morbidities. This involves intense follow-up as managing a chronic illness is difficult and requires day-to-day clinical decision-making with multiple treatments and monitoring demands on the patient and the clinician.
But as attention turned to the pandemic, chronic illness risked invisibility,” Renda said.
Ignoring a disease such as diabetes can be devastating with both short- and long-term complications, she said.
That is why she committed to learning and embracing telemedicine, and worked to instill confidence in her patients that she could still properly care for them in the “new normal.”
“Distance visits did not need to be distance caring as there are best practices for telemedicine visits,” Renda said.
As she learned the best practices, she shared and taught her nurse practitioner students so that they would learn flexibility in maintaining patient-centered care no matter what the circumstance. As a professor, she also relied on flexibility to teach her students who were facing numerous challenges of their own, including being on the frontlines of caring for COVID-19 patients, working extra shifts and having no time for school work.
While Renda said this year has proven to be challenging, the pandemic has taught her to be more flexible, innovative and appreciative to be in a school that is dedicated to caring for patients and students.