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18th March 2011
Arlene Clair
This year's forum brought together approximately 150 nurses working in and for First Nation communities. The theme this year was: "Change Offers Opportunities."

The focus was for nurses to enhance their knowledge and skills in Chronic Disease Prevention & Management (and related topics).

My key interest for attending this forum was to find out more information regarding diabetes, what role nurses can play in providing services that benefit the diabetes population and community members at risk for diabetes, what resources are available, and seeing what is working in other communities that may work in our community as well.

Topics covered at the forum included:
- an update about "The Big Fat Diet"
- Chronic Disease Prevention: A Life Course Perspective for Community-Based Approaches
- Pathway to Wellness
- The Influence of Environmental Contaminants on the Development of Chronic Disease
- Diabetes Retinopathy
- TeleOphthalmology
- Emergency and Break Through Pain Management
- Equine Therapy
- Food Security (tradional foods program)
- Literacy: The Pictogram Project
- Medication Considerations and Diabetes
- Suicide Prevention Strategy & Teams
- Pixalere Program (data & charting system)
- Preschool Vision Screening
- Renal Disease and Diabetes: Kidney 101

The diabetes population, especially in First Nations communities, is steadily growing. Our role, as nurses and service providers is to work with the health care team, clients, community, and leadership to help find successful ways to help prevent and/or delay chronic disease (especially diabetes because it can cause other health problems if not managed properly) and assist diabetes clients, their families, and the community members with managing their diabetes and living the best quality of life they can with continuity of care and services.

I believe that knowledge is power and if we gain this knowledge and continue to share it, beginning with prenatal moms, children, youth, young adults, and so forth - we can delay and/or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes together. As First Nations, we are already at risk for diabetes; however, with healthy nutrition, exercise (to prevent abdominal weight gain and obesity), regular screening/monitoring of type 2 diabetes, medication management, and coping with stress in an effective way - we can delay and/or reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and its other health complications.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Arlene at (250) 949-7161 or look out for information and invitations to upcoming diabetes info sessions.