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Staff Spotlight: Rachael Armenti, RN, CDCES

Pediatric Nurse & Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist


Rachael joined the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE) care team as a certified pediatric nurse and has since become a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES). Her interest in working with children living with diabetes began while she was studying to become a nurse at Worcester State University. 

Why did you choose diabetes? 

During the summer of 2012, Rachael and other nursing students worked at Joslin Camp for boys with diabetes, in Charlton, MA. She played soccer at Worcester State and has always enjoyed sports, so keeping up with the high energy of the boy campers was a perfect fit. It was also an on the job learning experience. “I helped with many infusion site changes,” she said. “It was a very active group of kids, and I loved it.” 

While working for 3 years at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Rachael helped many children living with type 1 diabetes. “I knew I eventually wanted to work exclusively with type 1 kids.”   

What is a typical day for you in the UMass Pediatric diabetes clinic?

Troubleshooting high and low blood sugars, ordering prescription refills and supplies, fielding questions and problem solving either over the phone or through myChart messages, are just a few of the many daily roles of a nurse in the Pediatric diabetes clinic. She also works closely with families as children begin using insulin pumps & continuous glucose monitors (CGM) – everything from the varied requirements of different insurance companies, forms and paperwork, obtaining prior authorization, and more.

“I answer a lot of questions from parents and help them to solve problems over the phone, but we also work very closely with school nurses,” she said. “We educate them to properly and confidently care for our young patients during the school day.”

Helping young people living with diabetes throughout life’s many transitions      

Beginning at the diagnosis of diabetes, no matter the age, the pediatric diabetes care team helps children and families navigate through life with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Managing diabetes is much more than food and insulin. Our care team also focuses on the emotional needs of our patients and their families, from infants to young adults. 

“Kids with diabetes have to grow up a lot faster because of the critical thinking and problem solving their forced to make at a young age,” says Rachael. 

Changes and transitions can affect blood sugars and require additional guidance and support: sports, illness, stress, transitioning from parental care to self-care, etc. Needs change frequently as children grow from toddlers and preschoolers to school-aged children to teenagers and young adults.

Most rewarding part of the job

rachael-and-sprinkles.jpgRachael feels the most gratifying part of being a pediatric diabetes nurse, is helping families get through the overwhelming and frightening process of diagnosis, to the first few clinic appointments and eventually feeling confident that they can manage the disease. “It’s a ton of information for parents to absorb, while still processing all of the emotions that come with learning that their child has diabetes,” she said. “The coolest part is when they finally say – I got this!”  

- Hobbies include: recreational soccer, working out, hiking and geocaching
- Pets: Cat named “Sprinkles”
- Loves to root for all New England sports teams
- Favorite band/artist: Madonna
- Favorite area restaurant: Arturo’s in Westborough