Virginia Hagger

Virginia Hagger

Dr Virginia Hagger is a RN-CDE, who has worked in the diabetes field as a clinician, program manager and researcher. She is the Course Leader for the Grad Cert in Diabetes Education.

Location Deakin University, Geelong, Australia


  • Hi @melindamg being overweight affects how well insulin works in the cells of the liver and muscle. Insulin acts as a gatekeeper to allow glucose into the cells to be used for energy. If the cells are resistant to insulin, the pancreas produces more insulin to try to reduce blood glucose levels. If the pancreas can't make more insulin then diabetes may...

  • A new resource is available for carers of family of friends with diabetes and may be helpful to the many course participants who are in this role.

  • Interesting article Joanne, and very relevant to the advice we give as health professionals and any 'self-help' advice that does not take into consideration the context of people's real lives.

  • Thanks Joanne, I have provided a more direct link to the exercise page on the Diabetes Australia website. Couldn't find any other broken links.

  • Thank you everyone for your insightful and compassionate contributions to the comments over the past 4 weeks. I have enjoyed reading your posts and conversations and glad that you have found the course worthwhile. Keep learning, posting and sharing your thoughts!

  • Hi @CherylHackett this might not be relevant to the struggle you are having adjusting to life with diabetes, but 'self-compassion' came to mind. this resource might be helpful?

  • Thanks for your interesting and thoughtful contributions to this topic and other learner's comments Joanne, it seems to have raised lots of issues and feelings for you.

  • @GityafroozPourahmadi Do you mean family-centred care? This is considered best practice quality care to involve the person / family in decision-making and consider their experience, needs and preferences. An example is from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne s
    The Australian...

  • You would need to have a good relationship and trust for that approach to work, but great that it helped get you back on track John.

  • Older age is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes - the body does not work as well as we age.

  • I hope you find some benefit from the learning community here Colin.

  • Interesting point about portion sizes Joanne. As a child we were made to eat everything on our plate but have you noticed the size of dinner plates today? A simple strategy to eat less can be to use a smaller plate for meals (you might have to look for an old one in a second-hand store).

  • Sorry to hear that your husband is still experiencing long term effects of treatment. The new immunotherapy based cancer treatments look optimistic but early days yet.

  • @SanthirasegaramBalenthiran Insulin treatment is common for people with type 2 diabetes. Although there are several new medications available, over time these medications may not be as effective at keeping blood glucose levels in the optimal range because the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas declines. Some medications for other conditions, e.g....

  • Definitely!

  • Thanks for your contributions to the discussion Gill. As you mentioned in a previous post, having other medical conditions makes living with and managing diabetes much more complicated, which highlights that the standard guidelines may not apply to everyone. It sounds like you are keeping active despite your limitations and probably some days are better than...

  • Being in hospital can be disempowering. I can understand the reasons for a regimented approach but there are many ways that people can retain some control, by doing their own BG check with the hospital meter, being informed of the result and asking what you would do to self-manage, etc. Your story Gill is a good reminder about person-centred care.

  • In Australia there are diabetes educators at many GP clinics, community health services and hospitals as well as private practice. The peak body is Diabetes Australia (and state diabetes organisation) which provides telephone helpline and information. Others may like to comment on diabetes education services and how to access them in their country.

  • Interesting that you have included 'empowerment' Gityafrooz in your definition. Empowerment is an important concept in relation to health, wellbeing and self-care.

  • Food is a very important part of our social interactions and more and more people seem to have food intolerances and special requirements.

  • Nice reflection @MaryanneTill . Your perspective has changed from really hearing what your sister was saying.

  • @MaureenGorman thanks Maureen, you have mentioned a number of positive ways to find support, promote acceptance and coping to live with diabetes.

  • Well done your daughter self-diagnosing diabetes! Accurate stories in books and TV can be really useful health education.

  • @MaureenGorman Sadly there is a lot of misinformation about the causes of both types of diabetes which leads to unnecessary distress for people with diabetes and parents/families.

  • Thanks for sharing that story Denise. It would help to walk in someone else's shoes just for bit to see how it really is for them.

  • Not feeling alone with your problem and feeling others understand is really helpful when living with a chronic condition and an important benefit of group education programs such as DESMOND.

  • Yes, type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed at any age, more than half are diagnosed over 20 years of age.

  • Thanks Frances that's a really interesting comparison of the different health policies and funding related to diabetes in the UK and USA. It would be nice to have greater equity regarding health and health care. In some countries people can't even afford or obtain regular supplies of insulin. Unused excess diabetes supplies can be donated - see Insulin for...

  • There are many common stories of people having friends and family members with type 1 or type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. For some there is the awareness and opportunity to prevent diabetes. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I'm sure there is lots to learn from each other.

  • Sounds a lot to deal with Gill. I hope you find the course is helpful.

  • There are plenty of helpful comments from your fellow learners. I hope you find them useful.

  • There is always so much more to learn. Glad that you have some new insights

  • Glad that you have found it worthwhile Ian. Thanks for your contributions to the discussion.

  • Some great examples of positive. empowering language.

  • While shock tactics can work to change people's behaviour or get tested (referring to Ian's example in Step 2.7 it may not work for all situations. The media in Australia has been influenced by the road traffic and anti-smoking campaigns that invoke...

  • Nice example Emily of two life transitions at the same time. Very hard to juggle priorities and the accompanying stresses. Well done.

  • Well done Billie. Yes, the research is showing that the same approach to weight loss doesn't work for everyone. An individualised approach to food and eating is likely to be more successful in terms of achieving health goals and meeting nutritional requirements and taking into consideration individual preferences. While cutting out all carbohydrates is not...

  • Great take home messages Christina!

  • Great insights Huey. How much better would we know people if we listened more and talked less?

  • We refer to 'person-centred care', trying to take into consideration the whole person when making self-management plans. Sometimes it can be challenging for health professionals not to impose their own goals and priorities into what they would like their patients to do, but this is unlikely to achieve the best outcomes for the person.

  • Nice explanation Taru that you are not defined by your diabetes. People adapt and integrate a chronic condition into their life in many different ways.

  • Glad that you had a positive experience Taru despite being so unwell.

  • When people have cancer their diabetes may not be given very high priority but thanks for highlighting this important area Agnes. The medications used in cancer treatment, and the added stresses that go with a diagnosis can play havoc with blood glucose levels, and may lead to diabetes for some people.