NSW Credentialed Diabetic Educator of the year Dianna Fornasier accepted her award at the Vincentia Medical Centre on Friday.
There is a higher proportion of people are living with diabetes in the local health district compared to the rest of the state.
However, Dianna said treating diabetes is riddled with challenges no matter where you go.
“The burden of chronic disease is a really heavy burden,” she said.
“Often the patient doesn’t turn up, I love the tough patients, bring it on, the patient comes through my door, and comes out differently.”
She links patients with mental health care nurses when required.
“When I first started, this gentleman sat down in the chair and told me he’d been on vacation from diabetes, I’ve just stopped my insulin,” she said.
“I said, ‘Oh dear, what’s going on with your life?’”
He had been self-harming.
Just this week, she had attended to three patients who have been self harming.
“You’ve got to realise, diabetes is a very complex disease and an emotionally latent disease, as is obesity,” Dianna said.
“I’ve tried very hard to be human, and put myself in the patient’s shoes.”
She also works closely with doctors advising them on the best way to treat diabetes.
“The doctors are there for you,” she said.
“This award belongs to all of us, to all of our patients.”
Colleagues read out testimonials from her patients at the award presentation on Friday.
“I really wanted to say thank you, you have been instrumental in lining up surgery, you essentially saved my life, I don’t think I’d be here today without your help,” a patient said.