Diabetes Educator Licensure Summary

Background

Diabetes education, also known as diabetes self-management training (DSMT) or diabetes self-management education (DSME), is defined as a collaborative process through which people with or at risk for diabetes gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions. DSMT/DSME is an interactive, ongoing process involving the person with diabetes (or the caregiver or family) and a diabetes educator(s). The intervention aims to achieve optimal health status, better quality of life and reduce the need for costly health care.

Diabetes educators are healthcare professionals who focus on helping people with and at risk for diabetes and related conditions achieve behavior change goals which, in turn, lead to better clinical outcomes and improved health status. Diabetes educators apply in-depth knowledge and skills in the biological and social sciences, communication, counseling, and education to provide self-management education/self management training.

Scope

Diabetes educators are highly skilled professionals integral to the multidisciplinary diabetes care team.

  • The role of the diabetes educator can be assumed by professionals from a variety of health disciplines, including, but not limited to: Registered nurses, registered dietitians, pharmacists, physicians, mental health professionals, podiatrists, optometrists, and exercise physiologists. Some services, such as nutrition counseling, medication counseling and psychological support services, however, may be provided in collaboration with a licensed dietitian, registered pharmacist, a licensed psychologist or social worker, or a psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner.
  • Mastery of the knowledge and skills to be a diabetes educator is obtained through professional practice experience, continuing education, individual study, and mentorship.
    • Many diabetes educators have earned the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential and/or some have become Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM).

Purpose

Professional licensure has numerous purposes: consumer protection, professional recognition and setting quality guidelines for the profession.

Management of diabetes is complex. It is very important that the health care professionals who set themselves out as Diabetes Educators be well educated and appropriately credentialed in the delivery of quality Diabetes Education. Licensure of the Diabetes Educator will provide a Scope of Practice and minimum provider qualifications.

Diabetes Educators Licensure is intended for the health care professional who has a defined role as a diabetes educator, not for those who may perform some diabetes related functions as part of or in the course of other routine occupational duties.

All health care providers need sufficient diabetes knowledge to provide safe, competent care to persons with or at risk for diabetes. Licensure of the Diabetes Educator will provide minimum standards for patient safety and for recognition of the professional. This will address the current workforce shortage of qualified professionals who can deliver diabetes education.