Katelyn Armstrong is a nurse practitioner in pediatric endocrinology.
Katelyn Armstrong is a nurse practitioner in pediatric endocrinology.
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People of the U: Katelyn Armstrong

Published on Friday, December 6, 2019

By: Ruth Cummins

When Katelyn Armstrong cares for her pediatric diabetes patients, educating them and their families about the disease is just as important as the rest of their treatment.

“We have lots of patient education opportunities, including once-a-month classes for newly diagnosed patients,” said Armstrong, a nurse practitioner who also is a diabetes educator.

Armstrong and the pediatric endocrinology team see patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Their program is accredited with the American Diabetes Association.

Children are followed not just in clinic, but at home via remote patient monitoring. Since 2015, pediatric endocrinology has partnered with the UMMC Center for Telehealth to make it possible for qualified patients to report their blood glucose levels using a Center-issued iPad that is linked to their electronic medical record.

“We follow them every three months, but things change between visits,” Armstrong said. “With technology now, we can view their blood glucose levels between visits and make insulin adjustments.”

Armstrong created a project focusing on the impact of remote patient monitoring in pediatric patients with types 1 and 2 diabetes. It was submitted to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, along with her nomination by UMMC for the association’s Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award.

Armstrong won the national honor, and she will present her abstract and receive formal recognition during the AACN’s Doctoral Education Conference early next year.

“Katelyn’s work in pediatric endocrinology is a shining example of how advanced practice providers can partner with our physician colleagues to provide exemplary service to Mississippi’s kids,” said Dr. Ashley Seawright, a nurse practitioner and the Medical Center’s executive director of advanced practice providers.

“Her dedication to providing excellent care advances our organizational vision and mission. We are so happy that she’s been recognized for her outstanding contributions and look forward to her continued partnership.”

Remote patient monitoring “is very helpful for a lot of patients, but especially those with frequent hospital visits. Our goal is to keep the patients out of the hospital,” Armstrong said. “Also with this program, we’ve noted not just a decrease in hospitalizations, but a decrease in hemoglobin A1C levels. That’s our benchmark for diabetes control.”

Armstrong, who has diabetes, said she was surprised to find that so many Mississippi children cope with the disease, “even some type 2 patients as young as 7 or 8 because of the obesity epidemic.”

But through education and careful monitoring, she said, there’s hope for those kids.

“It’s not a condition we can cure, but type 2 can be controlled to the point of not requiring insulin and instead using lifestyle modification,” she said. “With technology, there are so many more opportunities.”

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