Me & My Pump – Long Shifts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 21:09

Being a student nurse doesn’t come without it’s stress. As students, we complete over 800 hours of work experience throughout our degree and our shifts during work placement vary between 8 to 12 hours. Throw diabetes into the mix and you would think it’s next to impossible. Over the last two years, I’ve learnt to use some of the features of my pump in order to remove the stress of diabetes and allow the focus to shift to my nursing and it’s long hours. Now me and my pump are an inseparable duo.

Temporary basal rates! Often one of my most overlooked features when dealing with changing needs. On multiple daily injections, I was locked into my long acting dose of insulin I took up to 12 hours ago. On the other hand, an insulin pump only uses short acting insulin and uses this as your basal insulin. This allows for great flexibility in insulin doses and allows me to make changes on the fly. Temporary basal rates allow me to reduce my insulin needs for a small period of time for higher intensity activities. This perfectly fits in with nursing because I am always moving and on my feet – a recipe for hypos.

For the times that my temporary basal rate just doesn’t work, I have another safety measure to help in avoiding hypos – SmartGuard®. It has the ability to predict when my blood sugar could be low based on my sensor readings and suspends all insulin delivery for up to two hours in order to try and avoid a hypo. I’ve lost track of all the times SmartGuard® has helped me in avoiding hypos and some of these were when I was on placements tending to patients. A price can’t be put on that piece of mind especially when long shifts are in order.

For the times that I can’t sit down but I need to eat, I make use of the remote Bolus feature on the 640G. When I check my blood sugar using my Contour Next Link, I can use it to send either a pre-set Bolus or manual Bolus to my pump. I have multiple pre-set Bolus setup and with a click of a button on my meter, I get the insulin I need and I am able to move on with the rest of my day which is perfect for me as I am always on the move with nursing. 

Nursing and diabetes doesn’t have to be always down to business. I remember a day during one of my recent placements and I was tending to a patient with another nurse I had not met yet. All I could hear was a beeping sound that I thought was familiar but I couldn’t put my mind to what it was. A couple of minutes later and I heard the noise again and it hit me that it must be my pump. Except it wasn’t. My pump screen had no alerts or messages to trigger the sound. I turn to this other nurse and ask them if it’s just me or was something beeping. I wasn’t prepared for the response that I got back. Turns out it was this nurse also has Type 1 Diabetes and used an insulin pump. It was safe to say this nurse and I bonded in our stories of living with Type 1 Diabetes.

While nursing and diabetes sounds like a stressful mix, it doesn’t have to be! By using some of the features of my insulin pump, I am able to confidently manage my diabetes so I am able to have a clear focus on nursing.

Brent Hypos PosterBrentRN
Medtronic Diabetes Australia Ambassador
Living With Type 1 Diabetes 

Having recently completed work placement as part of becoming a registered nurse, Brent is familiar with what can be a juggling act between diabetes management and living his life. With his pump this juggling act is made easier as he is, “able to confidently manage my diabetes so I am able to have a clear focus on nursing”.


This patient testimonial relates to an account of an individual’s response to treatment. The account is genuine, typical and documented. The views and opinions expressed are those of the patient or author and not representative of Medtronic or of any third parties referenced. The response other persons have to treatment could be different. Please consult with you healthcare professional for information on whether the treatment is appropriate for you.

*The information provided in this blog is an individual account specific to the writers experience in the management of their own diabetes. Before considering any changes to your diabetes management you must consult with your healthcare professional.

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