Diabetes educators are medical practitioners who are specially trained to help persons with diabetes in the management of their disease. These can include but not limited to nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, social workers, or doctors. In addition to their initial training, diabetes educators undergo theoretical and practical training in behavior change, nutrition, safe exercise, stress management, hospital care, and medication management of persons with type 1, type 2, and Gestational diabetes.
At the end of the training, diabetes educators must take a qualifying exam that targets every aspect of the training and must show overall competence before being certified as diabetes educators. They must pass an exam to become a certified diabetes educator, and they must renew their licenses. This helps make sure that they stay up-to-date on the latest findings and breakthroughs. Because of this, diabetes educators are in the best position above any other member of the health care team to lead out in the management of diabetes in the multidisciplinary team setting.
How effective is Diabetes Education really?
Diabetes Education and Counseling are very effective in helping individuals with diabetes. Take, for example, it helps you keep good blood sugar levels. There’s research to suggest that diabetes Self-Management education, led by diabetes educators can lower your risk of complications like nerve and kidney damage, which helps you avoid dialysis (kidney support) and gives you a better quality of life. Knowing what’s going on with your body also helps you feel more in control of your health.
The following are reasons why it would be beneficial for you to see a diabetes educator if you have diabetes or prediabetes.
The diabetes Educator sees you as an individual and not as a disease
Therefore management will be geared toward meeting the immediate and long-term needs that are identified and not only on the fact that your blood sugar is high or low. Your diabetes educator will help you learn to take in stride all the things in your day-to-day life that can help control the disease — like exercise, nutrition, medications, and checking your blood sugar. They may also work with your family so they understand your needs better and can be there to support you. Below are other factors to note.
- The diabetes educator understands that “habits die hard” and as such efforts will be focused on helping you to cultivate new habits recognizing that this may take time and lots of continuous support. The training in behavioral change equips the diabetes educator to help to take you from where you are in your habit and nurture you to where you should be.
- The diabetes educator is well versed in the various treatment options available to you and is in a good position to help you to understand all the benefits and demerits of each of these options. You have the opportunity to be well informed on whichever option you choose to take and are better prepared to maximize the benefits and minimize the demerits.
- The diabetes educator recognizes that the environment in which you live may not always be conducive to good management of your diabetes and as such will work with you on finding solutions that can circumvent these barriers and give you a better chance at achieving your target goal.
- The diabetes educator understands that your management of diabetes is something you need to deal with every day and every moment of your life and therefore will equip you, family members, or significant others with the skills needed to make the best decisions in the times when you are away from the health facility or away from medical personnel.
Important factors to consider
- Because your diabetes would be well controlled, you will benefit from prevention or delayed onset of complications of diabetes which include, heart attacks, stroke, amputation, stomach problems, blindness, kidney failure, sexual dysfunction, etc. thus saving you the expense and other trouble caused with having to deal with these complications. Making the money spent with the diabetes educator worthwhile.
- Because you are seen as an individual, and the way diabetes affects you would be different from how it affects someone else. Therefore, the plan for your management will be uniquely customized to you and your situation making it one that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). Making it easier for you to follow and achieve your target goals.
In a nutshell, the diabetes educator work with you to create a management plan for diabetes that fits into your schedule and your circumstance, making it easier for you to stick to the plan and achieve the goals set for you.
Follow the link to have an initial assessment and one of our diabetes educators with reach you ASAP. To set you on your way to better management of your diabetes. Be sure to subscribe to AMCEC’s Monthly newsletter rich with healthy lifestyle tips.