Rochanda Crawford, Grady Health System

A diagnosis of diabetes can sometimes be scary and overwhelming, but at Grady Memorial Hospital, nurse Rochanda Crawford is there to help.

For most of her 34 years in nursing, Crawford has been teaching Grady patients how to live with their type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

“For a hospital this size, this can be overwhelming,” said co-worker Pamela Vaughn in nominating Crawford for an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Excellence in Nursing Award. “But Rochanda always has a smile and a pleasant attitude and is so patient with everyone.”

Crawford said she was heavily influenced by her mother in her career choice.

Her mom was a nurse for about 25 years at Grady, the country’s fifth-largest public hospital and one of its busiest.

“Even before I was in nursing school, she actually helped me get jobs as nurses’ aides,” said Crawford, who has been married 29 years and has two children. “My mom had a big influence on me.”

Crawford has spent her entire career at Grady and said her work with patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes plays to her two passions — nursing and teaching.

“I get a lot of patients who are newly diagnosed with diabetes in the hospital with really high blood sugar,” she said. “Most of them require insulin teaching, and we spend a lot of time on that because it’s really important that they get it right.”

RN Rochanda Crawford teaches Grady Hospital patients how to live with their newly diagnosed Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Courtesy of Crew Atlanta

icon to expand image

Crawford may see up to 14 patients a day and establishes a connection with many of them, Vaughn said.

“Many still call her if they are experiencing a crisis after discharge or presenting again to the ED (emergency department) for care,” she said. “Every doctor and nurse on the floor can put their mind at ease when Rochanda is there to educate their patient.”

Before COVID-19, Crawford also helped diabetes patients in Grady’s outpatient clinic and spoke at area churches about the condition, its increased prevalence, and new medicines and technologies that can help.

The job stays fresh, she said, because “each patient is different” and has different needs and concerns.

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.

RN Rochanda Crawford, Grady Hospital. Courtesy of Crew Atlanta

icon to expand image

Meet the other award winners:

Vicky Hogue, Wellstar Paulding Hospital. Winner of the Nurse Leadership Award, sponsored by Mercer

Beth Dziczkowski, Northside Hospital Cherokee

Clayton Fowler, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital

Danielle Giaritelli, Emory Healthcare

Jody Leonard, Southern Regional Medical Center

Kathleen LePain, Piedmont Healthcare Athens

Tasneem Malik, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Laura Moss, Wellstar Spalding Regional Hospital

Laurie Pazda, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital

Laura Toops, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta