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Who is on your diabetes education team?

Feb 05, 2013

I was in Washington, near Seattle, last weekend to teach a continuing education course to physical therapists.  I am often asked about my credentials of CDE when I am in the PT community.  I find that many PTs are very interested in working with people with diabetes (PWD) and many do.  Unfortunately, those who would like to become a CDE often find it very difficult to get the hours required to sit for the exam.  I was fortunate, having been hired to work in a diabetes center 17 years ago, to be able to get the hours.  But, some of the reason this came to be was that I have a Master’s degree in exercise physiology; this isn’t very common for PTs.  I encourage interested PTs to document the hours that they work with PWDs, include education into the interactions (as they commonly do anyway), and to pursue the credential. 

Another possibility is to work with a diabetes education team without a credential of CDE or BC-ADM (PTs aren’t one of the professionals able to get this credential).  I think PTs have a great deal to offer in the diabetes education process.  But, it isn’t just PTs.  There are so many other professionals that have much to offer the PWD and the diabetes education team.

I think most diabetes education programs have a nurse educator and dietitian as the core of the team.  Do you have others that participate in your program?  As I think of other common possibilities, I come up with social worker, psychologist, pharmacist, exercise physiologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, podiatrist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and physician (i.e., primary practitioner, endocrinologist, cardiologist, nephrologist, neurologist).  Wow! That is quite a list and I am sure I have not thought of some possibilities. 

Who do you have directly involved in your diabetes education program?  What professionals do you collaborate with to help in the diabetes education and support team?  What specifics can you share about what the person provides, how they are included in the team, and are they paid by your program or do you refer patients to them outside of your program?  I think most of us could use some help when working in diabetes education and as part of the big picture for diabetes care.  I would love to hear some responses so others can gain from your particular situations.


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  1. Feb 06, 2013

    Great blog entry! The Free Clinic, where I volunteer, has recently brought in a counselor for a more integrated care model for our diabetes patients. I have found it enormously helpful in treating and preventing diabetes burnout. I wish it were easier for more people to get their CDE, we could certainly benefit from the numbers!
  2. Feb 06, 2013

    My question is that I feel that having a psychiatrist or counselling service connected with our program would be a great thing! We are an outpatient based program in a small town and we do not have these services on staff. How do you go about this? Are we as RN CDE's and RD CDE's allowed to refer to a counsellor without going through the primary care MD?

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