I was shocked when I saw the new diabetes statistics. In less than 4 years, the number of Americans with diabetes grew from 24 million to 26 million. The document can be found on the CDC website. The numbers are staggering and there is little doubt the number will continue to increase. Of interest was that the estimated costs related to diabetes were not updated; the 2007 estimates were $174 billion in direct and indirect costs, but I’m sure this number will too increase.
I take a lot of pride being a diabetes educator and I know the education I provide produces positive measureable outcomes. However, I know I cannot educate everyone in my community who has or is at risk for diabetes. How can we empower individuals to change lifestyles which place them at risk for diabetes?
When I read the new statistics, I wonder if a solution is to increase the number of diabetes educators. How can we increase the number of qualified diabetes educators when there is a lack of interested individuals? I often try to recruit nurses and dietitians to take the certification exam, but I have found that not everyone is passionate about providing DSME. Perhaps we should allow licensed practicing nurses or licensed professional nurses to take the certification exam if they demonstrate the competence to provide DSME.
Are any of you surprised to see the new statistics? Do you have any suggestions for solutions to increase the number of diabetes educators?