Our Nurses Know: Connections

April 30, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Danielle Rogosch with her son, Alex.

 Danielle Rogosch’s career has been driven by her personal connections.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a nurse,” Danielle said. “My mother’s best friend was a nurse, and I’d see her wearing her white uniform and hear her tell stories of helping patients. I knew from that moment on, it was the right path for me.”

After graduating high school, she enrolled at Schoolcraft College to get her degree and joined Michigan Medicine in 1994 as an inpatient nurse on 6C. Eventually, Danielle’s career would take another turn, this time due to someone she connected with on the most personal level possible — her son.

‘My No. 1 priority’

In 1999, when her first-born, Alex, was 17 months old, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“I made it my mission to learn as much as I could and become as educated as possible about diabetes so that I could help him,” Danielle said about the group of metabolism disorders that affect approximately 29 million people in the U.S. “In the process of all that, I realized that all of our inpatient nurses were providing incredible patient care, but we weren’t necessarily providing the right type of education to those with diabetes — even though some were in the hospital explicitly due to complications from the disease.”

So Danielle set out to create a new discharge program that instructed nurses on how to better prepare patients to go home and properly manage their diabetes. She also had glucose meters delivered to the bedside so nurses could teach patients how to use them effectively. And she connected all inpatients with registered dietitian nutritionists during their stay to ensure they were learning tips and strategies to keep their disease in check.

Many of the policies are still in effect today, even though Danielle has moved on to a more diabetes-centric role at Michigan Medicine.

“I have spent the last six years in the Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND) clinic, both as an outpatient nurse and as a certified diabetes educator,” Danielle said. “While Alex was initially my No. 1 priority, my career has morphed into something so much bigger. I get to help so many people every day.”

Personal connections

In her role as a diabetes educator, Danielle spends a few days per week meeting with patients and their family members. The meetings tend to last between one and three hours each.

“I do a lot of disease management,” she said, noting that she typically sees between six and eight patients a day. “I help make adjustments to their insulin levels, teach them how to give injections or use new medication and just sit there and answer as many questions as possible that they may have.”

The lengths of the visits allow her to connect on a personal level, which often gives patients a sense of comfort and peace of mind.

“There are times when I’ll bring up the challenges I’ve faced while helping Alex, such as finding the right types of equipment,” Danielle said. “That helps people understand that while I may not have diabetes myself, I understand what they are going through.”

On her clinical days as a nurse, meanwhile, she has much shorter visits with patients — though she still takes the time to answer questions and provide them with the support they need. She also responds to patients via the patient portal.

“While my role is slightly different each day, the overall premise is the same,” Danielle said. “I’m here to help our patients manage their disease and keep themselves as healthy as possible.”

It’s what she has done with her son, too. Alex is healthy as can be and a 20-year-old student at Michigan State University studying psychology.

“There are always tough times when managing a chronic disease,” Danielle said of Alex’s health. “But he’s learned great ways to manage it, and I’ve learned great ways to help others manage it. This is what I was meant to do and I’m just grateful I’ve been able to take this path.”