When Cara Hass was a nursing student and working at a community health center in Connecticut, she remembers observing group medical visits for people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). “The patients absolutely loved going,” she recalled. Fast forward to today where Cara, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, co-leads a similar group called THRIVE—with Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) Courtney Melrose—geared towards people who are having a hard time meeting their A1C goals.
“It went really well,” said Cara after THRIVE’s first of four meetings. “The participants were very enthusiastic about the program. Hopefully, the motivation will continue and we will see improvements amongst them all. ”
Smart, energetic and enthusiastic, Cara, 28, is the latest person to join the busy team of caregivers at the Berrie Center. With a degree in biology from Connecticut College and a Masters in Nursing (MSN) from Yale, Cara is a Family Nurse Practitioner and as such, sees both pediatric and adult patients at the Center. Cara studied for three additional years after college to become an FNP, and she is certified to perform physicals, order and interpret diagnostic tests and write prescriptions, among other responsibilities.
At the Berrie Center, in addition to building her own roster of clients, Cara does a great deal of diabetes education with her patients. “I get to do both the teaching and the medical visits, which is very exciting for me to have a foot in both doors.”
At nurse practitioner school Cara had a concentration in diabetes and decided to specialize in endocrinology. “I love it," she said about working with people with diabetes. “Because it is a chronic disease, you can establish such strong relationships with your patients. And I like the fact that there are not always simple answers to patients’ questions. A lot of diabetes management is reading between the lines.”
Cara who has been at the Berrie Center for nearly a year, and for now, she’s focused on the task at hand. “I’m still a new provider, so I’m just really improving my skills in both T1D and T2D for adults and children across the lifespan. That’s a lot of information to take in.”
Said Robin Goland, MD, Co-Director of the Berrie Center and the J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes: “Having a nurse practitioner as caring and competent as Cara has been a real asset for the diabetes center and our patients.”