Amanda Jones is a registered nurse in Trinidad who has taken a writing hobby and turned it into an exquisite teaching tool for her patients with diabetes. Her collection, Poems for You & Your Neighbour: Health Disorders Simplified, is earning praise from her readers and professional colleagues for its uncomplicated approach to teaching diabetes self-care. The poems provide important information on diet, blood pressure control, and practical vision and foot care tips.
Nurse Jones earned her degree at The College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago and has worked since 2005 at San Fernando General Hospital, which serves one of five public health regions of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies chain known as the Windward Islands.
Trinidad and Tobago are home to a little above 1.3 million. In 2014, the International Diabetes Federation counted more than 1,400 adult deaths associated with 135,600 diabetes cases. It’s believed that more than 14% of the population aged 20 to 79 have diabetes. That’s much higher than the world average.
The Southwest Public Health Region served by Amanda’s hospital covers an area more than a third the size of the island of Trinidad, where about half a million people live. San Fernando is a coastal city with a population of about 50,000, second largest on the island, but the rural areas of Trinidad are hilly and forested.
Amanda’s vocation to writing was “ignited,” as she describes it, by a visit with the hospitalized father of a friend, who had been admitted to a surgical ward after an injury. He was facing grim prospects of recovery for wounds complicated by uncontrolled diabetes.
She wrote “My Encounter With Diabetes” about the visit. Here is the closing stanza:
The call for action stirred feelings deep within,
From that moment in which I went to visit him.
There is a definite need for support systems,
Which can create healthy coping mechanisms.
So for my friend’s Dad and others that I encounter,
The words I speak should be EDUCATE, ENCOURAGE and EMPOWER.
In an email interview, Amanda told us that the launch of her book might be helpful in reaching out to rural populations, “with the hope that a more informed patient will also be a more responsible patient” when it comes to seeking professional care and engaging in proper self-care.
As an instructional book for people with diabetes, Poems for You & Your Neighbour is likely to be very different from what an overwhelmed and worried new patient with diabetes might expect. It’s cheerfully illustrated, and the content, although clearly authoritative, is uniquely soothing and pleasant to read. If only all brochures and texts on diabetes self-care could be so inviting.
Photograph and excerpted verse used by permission.