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Staff Spotlight: Christine Hoogasian, Nurse Practitioner

The role of a nurse practitioner in diabetes care

Date Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Christine Hoogasian, DNP, ACNP-BC, ADM-BC, MSN, MS

- BS in Biology from Framingham State
- BS in Nursing from Fitchburg State
- Master’s in Animal Science from University of New Hampshire
- Master’s in Nursing from UMass Graduate School of Nursing
- D.N.P (Doctor of Nursing Practice) from UMass Amherst

Christine has been working at UMass Memorial Health Care for 10 years, starting as a staff nurse at Memorial. She enjoys helping people manage diabetes as it allows her to treat a multitude of complications and diseases. Currently, Christine is taking classes in general and public health to broaden her knowledge of healthcare and health problems across the world. She's interested in the healthcare needs of people from various cultures.

In addition to working as a Nurse Practitioner at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence, Christine teaches as an adjunct nursing professor at MCPHS in Worcester, MA and Rivier University in Nashua, NH, and also precepts students from MCPHS and UMass.

- Christine is married and they have 3 cats and a dog
- Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones
- Enjoys watching hockey (Worcester Railers) and baseball (Red Sox)
- Sings in her church choir
- Favorite Local Spot: Moore State Park

Misconceptions

Many patients do not understand the role and capabilities of a nurse practitioner (NP) when it comes to their diabetes care. NPs are taught two models of care, both the medical model and the nursing model. The role of a nurse practitioner varies from state to state. Some states have restrictive laws as to the scope of practice that an NP may perform. Massachusetts has one of the largest NP workforces in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To work as an NP in Massachusetts, one must enter into a collaborative agreement with a physician. This allows them to diagnose and treat patients, including prescribing medication, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. NPs do not require a physician to co-sign medication prescriptions. 

Nurse practitioners in the Bay State provide health care services including health promotion, disease prevention, health education, counseling and making referrals to other members of the health care team. They may also diagnosis and manage chronic illness and disease. A nurse practitioner fills multiple roles in diabetes care, as they diagnose, educate, counsel, and treat this growing patient population. 

The UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence Care Model

The UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE) provides patients with a cooperative health care team model. Physicians work together with nurse practitioners, certified diabetes educators (CDE), registered dietitians (RD), licensed practical nurses (LPN) and primary care assistants (PCA).  

Our DCOE team works closely with primary care physicians (PCP) to ensure that all patients receive the best, most up to date and consistent diabetes care possible. After each office visit, the physician or NP enters appointment notes, not only to communicate with one another, but the notes are also sent to the patient’s PCP. Such communication is essential for quality diabetes care. If a PCP finds that a patient’s A1c is high, they'll recommend an earlier appointment to the DCOE.     

Nurse practitioners at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence provide full patient assessments, and in addition to prescribing, changing and/or regulating medication, can also screen for and diagnose complications from diabetes and make the appropriate specialist referrals. They can diagnose neuropathy, high cholesterol, hypertension, check for retinal changes, check kidney urine test results and determine whether a blood glucose level is acceptable for surgery. 

Many of our patients see an MD/physician in clinic once a year and work with their nurse practitioner for the other three quarterly annual appointments. Diabetes care requires a trust-based relationship between a health care provider, the patient and the patient’s support system. People may choose to see a specific provider (MD or NP) based on their specific needs, and with whom they have established rapport.

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