We had the good fortune of connecting with Patricia Daiker, RN, NC-BC and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patricia, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to big risks, I have made three very big “leaps of faith” in my career. Each time I felt confident it was the right move, so it didn’t seem too risky.
I became a registered nurse at the age of 20 and after 9 months of “just working” in a local hospital, I knew there had to be more. At age 21, I put all my belongings in a cattle trailer and moved from Illinois to Texas to venture out and see the world. I accepted a position at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. I started as a floor nurse and quickly moved to leadership roles in ICU and then Charge Nurse in the Level 1 Trauma ER. That big risk definitely paid off!
My next leap was from the hospital to a healthcare IT startup company in 2000. After 15 years at the bedside, I wanted to revisit a career in computer science (something I had thought about before nursing, but it wasn’t a traditional career for women in the 80s). Despite warnings from family and friends, I traded the security of a hospital role for the corporate cubicle and boardroom. Again I started at the bottom as a subject matter expert, guiding the software engineers to build emergency department software. As opportunities presented themselves I stepped into product management, marketing, and eventually executive leadership in the role of VP of product strategy.
In my most recent leap, after a 15-year stint in the corporate world, I started my own business. While practicing in the ER, I developed Type 1 Diabetes. Despite my clinical training and experience caring for hundreds of patients with diabetes, I struggled. Not with “what to do”, but “how to live”. I found there was an enormous gap in the expectations of my providers and my ability to “just do it”. I obtained Board Certification as Nurse Coach to specialize in diabetes care.
Coaching which is an emerging specialty in nursing – I am one of about 500 currently in the US and that number is growing. Coaching isn’t about helping people with diet and medication like a Diabetes Educator, although that understanding is required. Rather it is helping people manage the many challenges of diabetes and sorting out how they “can live” with diabetes in ways that make sense with their unique situation. I have created an online 5 Step Program that guides people with diabetes in a fun and easy waythrough the process of making changes. These new skills build resilience and an approach they can use to tackle any problems they encounter. It’s a path to a Better Diabetes Life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As my business idea was taking roots, I wasn’t quite sure how to integrate my nursing background, corporate experience and lessons from diabetes. I knew it was “something”, but I wasn’t sure just what. I was swimming one day – being mindful of my experience, enjoying the feel of the water on my skin and praying to God for some clarity about my business idea. Unfortunately, no bolts of lightning or burning bushes appeared with the answer. so, I kept swimming and praying. At one point, I stood up in the water and said “OK God, you are going to have to help me out here. I’m not getting it”. Again – silence. So, I resumed my swimming, but for the next 20 minutes I noticed this dragonfly flying around me as I swam. It darted and dipped and stayed with me for the remainder of my swim.
After leaving the pool, I grab my phone and googled “what do dragonflies mean” and immediately got my answer from God. Dragonflies “symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self-realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life. “
That crystallized everything, my struggle with diabetes stopped when I became more emotionally mature and looked beyond just the blood sugars and needles. Diabetes got better when I learned how to change and stopped being a victim to my circumstances. My life had more meaning than just this illness! Diabetes was my catalyst to leave the hospital and take “leap #2”, there was purpose I had never noticed!
Since that time, I have met so many people who had a dragonfly connection; One of my first clients had a dragonfly on his guitar; my first corporate wellness contact had a dragonfly tattoo (she encouraged me to scale my offering to video), and so many more. The symbol has remained on my brand ever since.
I love the analogies that my program shares with dragonflies. Large eyes that see in many directions with new perspectives, a body the adapts from water to land to air on its journey, nimble and unique wings that allow for quick changes in course and of course the beauty that each of us presents to the world.
That small symbol sparked a fire that has gone from coaching individuals, to groups, then to online programs that are now bringing this new side of diabetes to corporate wellness programs. The people living with diabetes who need the most help, are those who can barely afford just the basic supplies. They only see their doctors a handful of times a year with little time to address “life needs”. But they go to work every day. This is where change can happen and make an impact in the hundreds of diabetes decisions, they make each day. Employer sponsored wellness programs are the next level of health in the US. A holistic approach to meet the needs of, not just the body, but the mind and spirit as well. This is how lasting change occurs and improves wellness. It’s all about transformation.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have been in the DFW area for so long, so this will be hard but this list would have to include: Snuffers for some cheese fries, the Gaylord in Grapevine for Christmas decorations, Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum, Dealey Plaza and the 6th Floor Museum always intrigues me, the “hands display” in Truett Hospital at Baylor Scott and White Dallas is fascinating, I love the chipotle salsa at La Hacienda Ranch and the fun shops in downtown Grapevine are good for some shopping on a sunny day.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give a shout out to Pam Takesh of Marni G designs in Coppell! When I was dreaming up a business idea, I invited her to coffee to pick her brain. Our sons are the same and I knew she was involved in our town’s Chamber of Commerce and was very networked with other small businesses. That coffee culminated with me attending my first-ever business networking group. I had to stand up and explain my business and share my passion. The feedback from the group acknowledged that I had a real opportunity that met a real need and was the fire I needed to hit the roading running. In the three years since that coffee date, Pam has helped me with branding brainstorming, banners, business cards, website design and a whole lot of friendship. She always has a kind word, a great idea, spot on feedback, a new perspective, and tons of encouragement. I trust her. That says a lot!
Other: My new ebook “5 Big Myths of Diabetes – Busted” https://betterdiabeteslife.com/5-myths-ebook/