Who is a Diabetes Educator?
A Diabetes Educator (DE) is a health expert who possesses comprehensive knowledge and experience in prediabetes, diabetes prevention, diet control and management. Diabetes Educators are an essential part of the diabetes management teams. They educate and support people affected by diabetes to understand and handle the condition. A DE promotes self-management to deliver individualized behavioural and treatment goals that optimize health outcomes. While diabetes educators may come from a variety of healthcare fields, each member of the diabetic team is anticipated to integrate the role into their professional practice.
The demand for Diabetes Educator in the Healthcare Sector
With an estimated range of 422 million people worldwide suffering from diabetes, the demand for treatments and informed healthcare professionals is rising. Diabetes patients and the professionals who treat them must stay informed of a rapidly changing field. Enter the need of diabetes educators. Today, there is a great scope for Diabetes Educators due to increased patient need, reduced number of providers, and the demands of operating in an information-rich atmosphere.
Any healthcare professional including Dietitian, Nutritionist, Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist or other medical professional can become a Diabetes Educator by formalizing their ability to provide diabetes patients with counselling and lifestyle management advice and by obtaining speical certification through the Diabetes Education Programs of renowned organizations. Professional Health providers with a knack for education and an interest in the ever-evolving field of diabetes are ideal candidates for this specialty.
Diabetes Education Programs and Path to Diabetes Educator Certification
The rate of diabetes in the world is increasing rapidly, and there is a significant need for diabetes education. Today’s diabetes education programs typically include training self-care behaviours, such as healthy eating, being active, monitoring, taking medication, resolving problems, healthy coping, and reducing risks.
To become a Certified Diabetes Educator, healthcare professionals can register to programs offered by renowned organizations.
For those professionals interested in earning certification as a diabetes educator, the first step is to apply for the exam. To qualify to take the exam, candidates must have several features, like teaching experience of at least 1,000 hours of diabetes education, self-management, and having at least two years of experience in diabetes education. Candidates must be a qualified and experienced healthcare professional, such as a Nurse, Dietitian, Pharmacist, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, or podiatrist.
Those healthcare professionals who qualify to take the exam and pass it are then officially recognized as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).
How can Diabetes Educators maximize their contribution towards patient health and well-being?
Establishing a therapeutic alliance with patients is an art. Diabetes Educators must have the interpersonal skills, values, and personal traits needed to cultivate relationships with patients that are characterized by trust, respect, and acceptance. They must feel and be able to express compassion, empathy, and warmth. Diabetes educators use their knowledge and skills along with these soft skills to provide the best care to their patients. They must broaden their clinical knowledge and include more expanded forms of skill while collaborating or working with the diabetes care centers, medical groups, disease management organizations, worksites, and health plans.
Diabetes educators’ role is not just limited to glucose control and information-based patient education but forming a proper diet plan, exercise plan, meditation tasks and helping patients to avoid unhealthy practises towards diabetes are also the responsibility of a diabetes educator.
The primary care practices of the future involve a team approach like active outreach by primary care providers for high-risk patients. Many clinics and medical groups have already established clinical algorithms, standing orders, and supervision systems. This allows registered nurses, pharmacists, educators, case managers, physicians and other healthcare professionals to collaboratively provide effective care to diabetes patients.
As attention turns away from carveout disease management to Medical Home models of care for those with incurable diseases, diabetes educators who can broaden their clinical repertoire can have more fun, be more employable, and have more earning potential. The developed skillset of Diabetes Educators, delivered with appropriate support and guidance, may help us achieve what all of us want for our millions of diabetes patients—longer lives, with lives as free as possible of complications.