Interview With A Diabetes Nurse Educator, Gaynal Hofmeister, RN, CDE

“Helping my patients manage their chronic disease is the most rewarding part of working in the field.” ~ Hofmeister

When it comes to choosing a profession, few jobs offer a better combination of rewards and versatility than that enjoyed by today’s Registered Nurses. Most commonly known as RN’s, these individuals can be found at every level of patient care. By pairing high wages with incredible professional flexibility, this field has managed to attract an incredible workplace population.

One such example of this is Gaynal Hofmeister, RN, CDE, who has dedicated a large portion of her working life to bettering the lives of the ill and injured. Following her marriage, Hofmeister began working in an assisted living home for Alzheimer’s patients. From there, she took a position at a local hospital, specializing as a Health Unit Coordinator.

“That’s what really got me interested in becoming a nurse. When the time was right, I went back to school.”

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Back to School for an Associate’s in Nursing

Opting to attend a nearby technical college, she began to pursue her Associate’s Degree. Despite her demanding schedule as a married mother of two, Hofmeister managed to complete her studies in a remarkably short period of time.

“It took me about three and a half years,” she recalls. “I did general [classes] for a while before I entered the program, which is normally a two year program. So I got a few other classes out of the way.”

Where is the work and what can you make?

As of May 2009, there were well over 2.5 million Registered Nurses operating within United States borders*. Not surprisingly, the locations in which they find work are nearly as diverse as the individuals themselves. While the greatest portion of RN’s are employed in hospitals, there is a great deal of opportunity in smaller physicians’ offices and nursing care facilities. Many members of this skilled group also have found success in the field of home health care services. This is an incredibly flexible option, allowing practitioners to travel from patient to patient on a daily basis.

No matter where an RN decides to ply their trade, they will doubtless command an impressive wage. At the time of the previously referenced survey, the group’s average yearly income tipped the scales at a hefty $66,530, which breaks down to just under $32 per hour. Those just getting their start in the field can expect to earn closer to $21.14 per hour, or nearly $44,000 annually. Experienced RN’s will see their pay increase tremendously over time, topping out at a whopping $45.05 per hour, or $93,700 each year.

Becoming a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator

Beyond the monetary compensation, Hofmeister extols the virtues of the day to day experiences of the nursing profession. After earning her degree, the new RN spent a great deal of time in patient care, followed by a stint in the surgical unit. Since then, she’s garnered certification as a Diabetes Educator.

“We see patients on a daily basis to help educate them on their diabetes care. A very wide range – Type 1, Type 2, pediatric all the way to geriatric. Seeing people be successful, and appreciating the knowledge we can give to enable them to manage their chronic disease,” she states, “is the most rewarding part of working in the field.”

For those seeking employment within the medical field, there are few jobs which can match the flexibility of the RN position. After obtaining a standard Associate’s Degree, students can choose any number of specialties with which to occupy themselves.

“There’s a lot of opportunity, which is a good thing for people,” concludes Hofmeister. “There’s a lot of different areas of interest, which makes it a very diverse field. If one area doesn’t work, if you don’t care for it, then there are plenty of other different types of nursing to get into, for all different types of people. You can work in a critical care unit, in a hospital room, in a nursing home, in surgery and operating rooms, clinics which offer different areas like cardiac or orthopedic – there are many different avenues you can take with your nursing.”

To learn more about this nursing specialization you may want to read the article: How to Become a Diabetes Nurse Educator

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*Bureau of Labor Statistics