Staff Spotlight: Karen Ridley, Chronic Care Nurse and Diabetes Educator
Karen Ridley is a nurse with a passion for helping people understand their diagnoses and for empowering them to take charge of their health.
With a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Andrews University, Karen joined Care Alliance about two years ago to take on the role of Chronic Care Nurse and Diabetes Educator. She rotates throughout Care Alliance’s three clinics to meet one-on-one with patients who need help managing diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses. Once a patient’s doctor finishes an appointment, Karen can spend extensive time with that patient answering questions, ensuring the patient knows how to test his blood sugar and explaining nutrition guidelines that can help lower blood pressure. She also coordinates group health education and diabetes management classes for patients interested in learning more about controlling their disease.
With 43% of Care Alliance’s medical patients diagnosed with at least one chronic illness, specialized care like this is essential to serving them appropriately. Care Alliance is actively engaged in the Better Health Greater Cleveland collaborative to improve chronic care outcomes, and is grateful for the support of the United Way of Greater Cleveland, The Mt. Sinai Foundation and the individual donors who support the chronic care program at Care Alliance.
“What sets Care Alliance apart is that we are a small organization making a huge impact on the lives of the less fortunate,” Karen said. “That’s the reason I came on board at Care Alliance: I stand behind our mission of helping those in need.”
Karen is a native resident of Berea and loves the Cleveland area. When she isn’t at work, she enjoys cheering her two children on at their sports events and scrapbooking. And if there were ever any question about Karen’s calling as a diabetes educator, the dog she adopted proves she is doing what she was meant to do.
Karen and her family discovered their dog Mylo, a six-year-old poodle, also has diabetes! Just like many of Karen’s human patients, Mylo is on an insulin regimen twice a day and has a carefully monitored diet to control his blood sugar.
“Even though it takes extra energy and attention to keep Mylo healthy, I love him and wouldn’t trade him for any dog!”