Low carb nurse advocate up for top health award
A diabetes nurse has been nominated for a top health award for her “knowledge, enthusiasm and dogged determination”.
Nicola Hayes and Stephen Pacey, who are both patients of Catherine, nominated her for the award.
Nicola said: “I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes four years ago and the stigma hit me hard. Then Catherine came along; kind, caring and all that you would expect from a nurse.”
Since being under Catherine’s care, Stephen has improved his overall health and well-being, and resolved his pre-diabetes. He added: “I doubt if I could have achieved all that I have without her help.”
A spokesperson for the awards said: “Nicola Hayes and fellow patient Stephen Pacey have nominated their practice nurse Catherine Cassell, who works at Preston Grove Medical Centre in Somerset. They say her knowledge, enthusiasm and ‘dogged determination’ have changed their lives and inspired many patients.”
I have had the most amazing results with patients eating low carb diets. Patients with pre-diabetes have reversed and patients with type 2 diabetes have gone into remission
Speaking to The Diabetes Times, Catherine said: “I am so proud to be nominated for this very special award. My diabetes care is person-centred as each individual has different needs. I practice lifestyle medicine such as focusing on dietary changes, improved sleep, exercise and stress management.
“In some cases this prevents patients needing medication for their type 2 diabetes or medications can be stopped which is hugely motivating and promotes self-management.”
Now in their 31st year, the RCNi Nurse Awards celebrate the very best in nursing care. Covering a wide range of specialties such as learning disability nursing, child health, cancer nursing, mental health nursing and nursing older people, the awards are widely regarded as the highest accolade for nurses in the UK.
In the last year Catherine has seen hugely significant benefits in people’s health after focussing on low carb diets.
She said: “I have had the most amazing results with patients eating low carb diets. Patients with pre-diabetes have reversed and patients with type 2 diabetes have gone into remission. One chap has lost over eight stone in 11 months. I have never seen so many patients improve their HbA1c levels and lose so much weight. Also, their lipids improve, fatty livers, GI symptoms, mood, energy; just so many things! It has been wonderful to take people off medications, stop insulin or not have to start meds in the first place.”
Her low carb journey began after reading Micheal Mosley’s 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet book, which she said felt like a “huge penny had dropped”.
Not only did she apply some of the information she had learnt from the book to her patient approach, but she also carried out the advice personally and lost more than two stone herself.
She added: “This is motivating and inspiring for patients as I give loads of advice and can support them so much. I have a big library of books now too, plus websites that I recommend.
“I have also set up a diabetes and pre-diabetes peer support group which is going very well. We have had sessions on diet, exercise, mindfulness and meditation, foot care and Diabetes Uk came along once to tell us what they provide.
“For some patients it’s just about focusing on giving up certain foods such as biscuits and cakes and that’s enough to improve their health. It really is individualised care. Some people can’t even think about what they’re putting in their mouth because they are so stressed and not in the right head space or they don’t sleep so reach for carbs and sugar.
“The only thing that makes us the same is that we are all different. We can’t divorce ourselves from life and we have to do what we can do to help ourselves most of the time and nobody is perfect! We have to give ourselves a break but we need to invest in ourselves and love ourselves. Empathy, listening and understanding is a must for all nurses and I feel I have all that. I truly, absolutely love my job.”
The Patient’s Choice Award was developed to give members of the public the chance to thank a nurse, midwife, health visitor, healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner who has made a real difference to their or a loved one’s healthcare.
The judges for the category are only responsible for deciding the five finalists. The winner is then decided by public vote and will be announced at the awards ceremony on Wednesday July 4.
Voting will stay open until midnight on Friday, June 8. To vote, click here.
Catherine is not the only person who firmly believes following a low carb diet can help control type 2 diabetes.
The Low Carb Program is an award-winning digital education program for people with type 2 diabetes, developed by Diabetes.co.uk in collaboration with Dr David Unwin (NHS Innovator of the Year 2016) and the feedback of 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes.
It looks at addressing three sources of sugar in the diet – whether that be from natural sources such as fruit and honey, added to products such as cakes and drinks or as the product of digesting complex carbohydrates such as bread and pasta. Simple Action Points at the end of each lesson ensure people understand exactly how to progress and are provided the opportunity to track their progress and further personalise their experience.