Living with diabetes blog

Education, motivation drive diabetes behavior change

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. January 23, 2014

What is the trigger or motivation to make you change a behavior? If I had the answer to that question, my job would be easy. Health care providers send people to me so I can straighten them out and get them to do what they're supposed to do to manage their diabetes.

Currently, the term "noncompliant" isn't politically correct for many reasons. Often, you want to change but don't know where to begin. Sometimes, it's not the right time or you're in denial. So what's the answer?

As a diabetes educator, it's my job to educate, answer questions, offer encouragement, demystify misconceptions, direct, assist, teach self-management skills, and plant that the initial seed or idea for change in your mind. This is the process of empowerment.

I can't change your behavior; you have to do it yourself. The touchdown for a diabetes educator is to have the light bulb go on for a person during an education session. He'll say: "I get it or I now know what I have to do."

The icing on the cake is to see the person at the next visit with improved blood glucose control, feeling better, and happy about what they've done and where they're at with their diabetes management.

What about scare tactics? Do they work? I'm personally not a believer.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is running anti-smoking and tobacco use commercials. After graphic anti-smoking ads were shown, a CDC survey said that before the campaign started, 31 percent of smokers said they had tried to quit for at least one day in the previous three months. This went up to 35 percent after the campaign, and 13 percent said they succeeded.

Research also has shown that your belief in your ability to carry out actions to reduce the threat and/or fear is very important in leading to any change. The use of scare tactics in health communication is complex and controversial and the current research literature on scare tactics reflects this.

What do you think? Can you be scared into changing your behavior?

Have a great week.

Regards,

Nancy

Jan. 23, 2014