|Boiko says that helping diabetics is extremely rewarding.
Tammi Boiko of Mission Viejo wears a lot of hats in the medical field and that’s fine by her.
Boiko, 51, is not only a Registered Nurse but she is also a certified diabetes educator, and the manager of the Diabetes Clinic at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center. She has an Associate’s Degree in nursing from Saddleback College and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Vanguard University.
Boiko shares that she become interested in educating people about diabetes when her husband and two of her three daughters were diagnosed as insulin Dependent, Type 1 diabetic.
“After my second daughter was diagnosed in 1990, I knew I wanted to be a diabetes educator,” she says.
At work, she’s busy at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, which is the only American Diabetes Clinic in the Saddleback Valley. It offers weekly classes on diabetes education, including: medications, exercise, blood glucose monitoring, weight management.
Of course, she also likes to volunteer her time and says that any time the hospital hosts community health education programs; she provides counseling on diabetes management. She is also the President of the Orange County Diabetes Educators, Orange ADE, Chapter of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
“Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community that I raised my family. Volunteering allows me to get out of my clinic and get to the people with diabetes, especially the patients who are unable to drive to the clinic. I feel good when I am able to help someone feel good about living with diabetes; it is not a fun disease to live with,” she shares.
All of this boils down to the simple fact that nursing has enhanced and benefited her life more than she could ever imagine, she says.
“My life is enhanced every time a patient comes to the clinic and I am able to provide life knowledge along with clinic practice guidelines. The smile on a patient’s face or the caregiver’s, makes my career very rewarding. And every time I attend a conference on diabetes, I learn more, which allows me to keep my husband and daughters up to date on diabetes care and management,” she says.
What she enjoys most is most is when a patient first arrives at the clinic, new to the diagnosis of diabetes.
“They are usually afraid, sad and many feel guilty that they ‘caused’ the disease due to their lifestyle. I love to sit with the patient, allow them to experience their fears and concerns, cry if needed, and then give them a positive comment, such as, ‘I understand how you are feeling, I have been there too, but you will learn how to live with diabetes, and no questions is off limits.’ Then, I get a hug. To touch a life with a touch and a smile makes my day.”
Currently, there are 24 million people in the United States diagnosed with diabetes, 5.7 million prediabetic and 57 million undiagnosed, she adds. And there are only 15, 000 certified diabetes educators in the US, average age -- 54, she says.
“Diabetes touches every aspect of a person’s being, vision, heart disease, feet, and much more. As diabetes educators, we become friends with the patients, sometimes for the rest of their lives,” she says.
Coming up on her 30th wedding anniversary to husband Marty, the couple has three daughters, Jackie, 26, Kim, 24, and Kelli, 21.
In her spare time, when she has some, she likes to hang out with friends, go to the movies, camping and supports the LA Lakers
As for what lies ahead for Boiko, she says, “I love working in diabetes education. I would like to have my Master’s in nursing completed within the next 5 years. I would like to see the Saddleback Memorial Medical Center Diabetes program be identified as a center of excellence in diabetes education and training. I would also love to be a grandmom.”