June 21, 1999
Joanne Hanson has been a nurse for the past thirty-eight years. She has been at Woodinville Pediatrics with Dr. Richard Mauseth for twenty-one years, working in the specialized area of pediatric endocrinology.
In her position, she helps children of all ages adjust to their diagnosis of diabetes. Recently, Hanson won a prestigious award for her service, presented by the Washington State Association of Diabetic Educators. She was named Washington's Diabetes Educator of the Year at the association's spring conference luncheon.
"I was very surprised and so touched by this honor," said Hanson. "I cried when I heard. It was very emotional for me."
A committee decided on the recipient of the award and the selection was based on many factors. Support letters for the candidate are important, and in Hanson's case many people--including patients and their parents, school nurses, doctors, and educators--praised her professionalism, commitment, and sensitivity to the needs of her patients.
"Joanne's biggest asset is her ability to listen to people and empathize with their situation," said Mauseth. "She can read people and know how they're feeling and then she responds to them with much compassion. In her position, she is the major support person for so many kids with diabetes. They feel so comfortable with her and trust her completely."
Hanson sees her role as an educator who helps children learn to live with diabetes.
"I want to show them how to be normal, healthy children and adjust to their condition as smoothly as possible," said Hanson. "I call diabetes a condition, not a disease, because it is a lifelong condition that does not go away. Juggling it on a day-to-day basis is a challenge and that is what I help my patients learn to do. I tell them knowledge is power."
Hanson loves working with her patients and their families and finds it very rewarding. Her job is demanding and time-consuming, but she never complains because she is passionate about helping others. She is well-known in the community for the many diabetes education programs she holds for school nurses and for support groups she runs for parents.
"Joanne has made a huge difference in so many people's lives," said Mauseth. "She gives so much of herself."
In her typical modesty, Hanson replies, "I'm just doing my job."