What is a Diabetes Nurse?

A diabetes nurse specializes in treating patients either suffering from diabetes or at risk of becoming diabetic.

These specialists also educate communities about diabetes prevention and management.

Diabetes is a life-threatening metabolic disease that causes the body to have difficulty producing or responding to insulin.

Without proper treatment and care, patients with diabetes may experience a severe decline in health or possible death.

What Do Diabetes Nurses Do?

Diabetes nurses perform numerous duties to assist and treat diabetic patients and those at risk of diabetes.

These specialists monitor their patient’s blood sugar levels and health vitals to determine their diabetes status.

They also track patients’ medical histories, update health records and assist physicians and other specialists with procedures.

Diabetes nurses will educate patients on their diet and the importance of proper nutrition, rest, and exercise.

It enables them to help patients take preventative action and manage their existing conditions better.

They also teach individuals strategies to prevent dangerous insulin spikes/drops and avoid mismanagement of insulin.

When working with physicians, practitioners, and other specialists, diabetic nurses ensure patients receive proper care.

In addition to providing patients with medical care and advice, diabetes nurses push to advocate better diabetes awareness.

They educate communities on healthy lifestyle habits and provide education and resources to ensure they live optimal lives.

Some diabetes nurses become nurse educators, teaching other nurses and students about diabetes and nursing practice.

Diabetes nurses treat a wide range of age groups, from kids and young adults to middle age and elderly individuals.

Diabetes Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Monitor patient blood sugar levels
  • Review medical histories
  • Consult and educate communities on diabetes prevention
  • Help patients manage and minimize their health condition
  • Update medical records
  • Educate people about nutrition, exercise, and rest
  • Assist physicians and diabetes specialists
  • Act as a liaison between patient and physician
  • Research treatments and therapies
  • Educate students and nurses on diabetes prevention and procedures

Where Do Diabetes Nurses Work?

Diabetes nurses operate in various settings to provide medical care and education to diabetic patients and local communities.

It includes hospitals, physician offices, treatment facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and provide practices.

Diabetes nurses also work in research centers and academic settings in a non-direct care position.

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Academic settings (i.e., universities)
  • Physician offices
  • Private practices
  • Treatment facilities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Research centers

A diabetes nurse’s responsibilities will vary depending on their work setting and employers’ needs.

For instance, those operating in research centers may concentrate on research, testing, and data analysis.

It enables them to study and implement new procedures, medicines, and therapies to improve the lives of diabetes patients.

Diabetes nurses in treatment centers educate patients and other healthcare professionals about diabetes.

These professionals play a more direct patient care role due to their work setting and responsibilities.

As a result, they can implement new procedures and therapies directly into the patient care process.

The Diabetes Care Team

This profession comprises various medical professionals who provide medical care to patients with diabetes.

It includes leadership like the medical director of diabetes care, diabetes education program coordinator, and ERP coordinator.

It also includes diabetes educators such as the inpatient and outpatient diabetes educators and clinical nutritionists.

Finally, most hospitals include a team of nurse practitioners and physicians to assess, diagnose and treat diabetic disorders.

Each professional plays a distinct and comprehensive role in the care, coordination, and education of patients with diabetes.

Stony Brook Medicine offers a great list of their diabetes care team for those interested in the different healthcare positions.

How Much do Diabetes Nurse Educators Make?

Diabetes nurse educators earn approximately $85,990 annually in the United States, based on Salary.com estimates.

However, their annual salary varies greatly between the top 10% and bottom 10% of earners.

The bottom 10% of diabetes nurse educators earn approximately $69,560 yearly while the top % make about $103,184.

That said, their employer, work location, experience, education, and additional skills, directly impact their annual salary.

How to Become a Diabetes Nurse

Becoming a diabetes nurse is highly rewarding for those who want to make a positive impact on their patients’ lives.

That said, aspiring nurses must complete several steps to obtain their license and operate as diabetes nurses.

It includes joining a nursing program, obtaining a BSN, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and acquiring work experience.

This section explores the steps students and nurses must take to become diabetes nurses.

1. Join a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming a diabetes nurse is to join a nursing program.

The nursing program provides an educational foundation of nursing to ensure students provide adequate medical care.

To join a nursing program students must first complete the nursing school’s prerequisite requirements.

It takes approximately 1 – 3 years to complete the prerequisites, depending on the student’s prior education.

Students must also maintain a good GPA to qualify for nursing school.

After completing the necessary prerequisites students may apply for entry into the nursing program.

2. Obtain a BSN

Nursing school students have two degrees they can pursue to become registered nurses.

It includes the two-year ADN and four-year BSN degrees.

The two-year program provides a basic foundation of nursing to enable students to quickly enter healthcare, gain experience, and earn money.

However, this program is less comprehensive than the BSN and limits the career opportunities available to registered nurses.

As a result, obtaining a four-year BSN is highly beneficial, especially for nurses who want to operate in specialized fields.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN

After completing nursing school, students must take the NCLEX-RN exam.

This exam tests the student’s comprehension, knowledge, and overall understanding of nursing to ensure they provide adequate medical care in the field.

It’s also a necessary exam for students to complete to acquire their registered nursing license.

4. Acquire Work Experience

Work experience is an essential component of every nursing specialization, including diabetes.

As a result, registered nurses will want to obtain as much career experience as possible after receiving their license.

It’s beneficial to look for work opportunities in diabetes, critical care, or other related fields.

It will better prepare healthcare specialists for their roles as diabetes nurse educators and care specialists.

It also prepares them for the diabetes care and education specialists certification (CDCES).

5. Obtain Certification

After obtaining experience, nurses will want to take the diabetes care and education specialist certification (CDCES).

This exam enables registered nurses to become certified, which is necessary or highly recommended for certain positions.

Acquiring certification also ensures that you have adequate training to work effectively as a diabetes nurse specialist.

The CDCES educates registered nurses on the effects of diabetes, and its states throughout a patient lifespan.

As a result, diabetes nurse educators and care specialists and provide better support and advocacy for those affected by diabetes.

Career Outlook

The field of diabetes research and treatment is constantly growing.

Understanding this life-threatening disease is essential to ensure the health and well-being of various communities.

As a result, the discipline of diabetic nurses is continually expanding.

These professionals keep healthcare specialists updated on the latest procedures, treatments, and medical trends.

They provide valuable data and resources for treating diabetes, reducing its symptoms, and taking preventative measures.

Without diabetes nurses, the growth of knowledge concerning the treatment of diabetes would slow significantly.

In turn, it would lead to less quality patient care, difficulty remaining updated on the latest technologies, and higher medical costs resulting from less accurate treatment plans.

The role diabetes nurses play in educating patients and specialists about the disease is instrumental to healthcare.

Their contributions to diabetes research, patient care, and education cannot be overstated.

Diabetes nurses allow patients, communities, and healthcare professionals to lead happy, healthy, everyday lives.