KC Arnold was born in Rockville Centre, New York and is one of seven children. She was destined for a career in the medical field, following in the footsteps of her mother, Kay. During high school she was a volunteer candy striper at a local hospital and later worked in an ER as a receptionist. She attended the State University of New York, SUNY-Binghamton, and attained her degree in nursing. The day KC graduated from college, she was sworn into the United States Air Force and soon attended MIMSO (Medical Indoctrination of Military Service Officers).
Kay has always been her mentor and inspiration. KC’s mother was a 3 year diploma nurse from St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. With seven children to care for, she earned her BSN in nursing and became a Family Nurse Practitioner. “I wanted to be just like her and since childhood I wanted to join the military,” KC said. KC’s father was a CPA for Grumman. The choice to focus on Diabetes came while working at Keesler AFB. In 1993, KC was transferred to Keesler AFB as an active duty Air Force nurse. She saw patients on the Medical Oncology floor and became the certified Diabetes Educator for the facility. “I had no idea at the time I had a passion for Diabetes care but something clicked,” she said. She proceeded to work on her master’s through the G.I. Bill after having completed over twelve years of service. KC earned her MSN as an Adult Nurse Practitioner at U.S.A (University of South Alabama) in Mobile.
As a NP (Nurse Practitioner) KC Arnold is certified in three areas; adult, acute care, and advanced Diabetes management. An NP is an advanced practice nurse (APRN) who has completed additional training beyond that of a registered nurse. An NP can practice in a wide variety of institutions to include; clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, veteran’s administration facilities, etc. Mississippi regulations require a master’s degree, certification, and a collaborating agreement with a physician.
Eight years ago, shortly after hurricane Katrina, KC opened The Diabetes Center in Ocean Springs. In the beginning, the staff consisted of herself and one nurse. Today, KC employs three NP’s, one RN, and five support staff members. The focus of the practice is exclusively to treat and educate people with Diabetes. 60% of the patients seen have Type 2, and 40% have Type 1. In 2010, the state of Mississippi ranked 2nd highest in the nation overall for Diabetes prevalence.
Education is a huge component of any Diabetes care. Controlling the disease does not happen overnight. “We offer in-house free classes on carb counting, Diabetes basics, insulin management, and insulin pump therapy. I also refer to Dieticians and local programs through Gulf Coast Health Educators. We use education and technology to help our patients achieve their goals,” KC said. Controlling Diabetes requires dedication and perseverance. A patient must test their blood sugar levels each day, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and take the prescribed medications. Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol is key in order to prevent serious complications such as heart disease, amputations of lower extremities, and kidney damage.
KC Arnold is excited about the many treatment options available today for Diabetics and testing equipment continues to improve. The MSDH (Mississippi State Dept of Health) website has a free GAMEPLAN available to help educate patients and keep them on the right track. If you suspect that you may have Diabetes, it is imperative that you see your health care professional as soon as possible and be tested.
Having been presented with numerous awards for excellence in her field over the years, KC is particularly proud of one. HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) gave her the Davies Award. It is a national award of recognition for the utilization of the Electronic Health Records (HER). “My clinic won and I am the first nurse practitioner to ever win this award. We went up against some of the best ambulatory medical practices in the country! I am incredibly proud,” she said.
Giving back to the community is very important to KC Arnold. She supports the American Diabetes Association and has often hosted ADA walk-a-thons. She has also ridden hundreds of miles with the Tour De Cure bicycle events. KC enjoys her down time in a number of ways. She is a vocalist, plays guitar, and is studying the violin. She is a member of The Blarney Coast Irish band and directs the youth mass every Sunday at the St. Elizabeth Seton church. Exercise and physical fitness is also a favorite pastime, as well as hanging out with her white golden retriever, Daisy. The sweet and gentle animal is in the process of being trained to work in KC’s office as a therapy dog. KC’s son Brendan, who is her pride and joy, attends college in Nashville, Tennessee.
For more information about The Diabetes Center, call 228-875-3606 or visit their website at http://www.kcdiabetes.com
Go To Places Monthly is delighted to honor Diabetes Specialist, KC Arnold, as our Mover & Shaker for the month of September.