Diabetes Educators and You

Credentialled Diabetes Educators are specialists in diabetes. They are health professionals who have completed further study to focus their efforts on helping people with diabetes self-manage their diabetes effectively and prevent complications.

A diabetes educator can be the first point of call when you are wanting more information, support and/or motivation in the management of your diabetes and the link between other health professionals. They have in-depth knowledge on all aspects of diabetes and can recognise when you need to see other members of your health care team for example, an optometrist or podiatrist.

When should I see a diabetes educator?

Credentialled Diabetes Educators can be there with you the entire way through your journey. When you are first diagnosed, Credentialled Diabetes Educators explain what diabetes is and provide individualised advice on how to get your blood glucose levels within the appropriate target range. They will also help you organise tests and screenings for diabetes complications. This will vary depending on your diabetes, your lifestyle and your age.

Credentialled Diabetes Educators can also help you when your blood glucose levels fluctuate. According to Credentialled Diabetes Educator, Rachel McKeown, this could be changing when you are feeling stressed or anxious.

“Lifestyle changes and events like exams, weddings, divorce, somebody close to you dying, can send up blood glucose levels,” Rachel said.

“The main aim of a Credentialled Diabetes Educator is to empower the person that has diabetes to self-manage their diabetes through knowledge, motivation and support.”

Who should see a diabetes educator?

Everyone should see a diabetes educator even people with pre-diabetes. Credentialled Diabetes Educators can provide you with initial information, what can happen in the future and what to look out for if something goes wrong. The frequency of your visits to a diabetes educator will depend on your diabetes and your blood glucose levels.

For people with type 1 diabetes, Credentialled Diabetes Educators can help you manage your medication, meal plans, eye care and looking after your feet.

For people with type 2 diabetes, Credentialled Diabetes Educators can help you prolong needing medication and help you make the transition to medication when the insulin producing cells in your pancreas stop producing insulin.

“Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, we can delay medication via healthy eating, exercise and losing weight but eventually it may be necessary to start medication,” Rachel said. “Diabetes educators can be there to help you make the transition to medication.”

Credentialled Diabetes Educators can also help people with less common forms of diabetes like Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA) and Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY).

“We will be able to provide initial information and if needed, refer to another specialist,” said Rachel.

How do I find a Credentialled Diabetes Educator?

You can use the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) website to find a Credentialled Diabetes Educator by entering your postcode on the home page. Most hospitals and health care centres also have a Credentialled Diabetes Educator.

For telephone support, you can call the Diabetes Australia infoline on 1300 136 588 and ask to speak with a Credentialled Diabetes Educator.

How much does it cost to visit a Diabetes Educator?

If you visit a Credentialled Diabetes Educator in a hospital, your visit is covered by the health system. If you visit a Credentialled Diabetes Educator in private practice, it could be covered by Medicare or subsidised with a private health insurance rebate.

Working as a Credentialled Diabetes Educator

Rachel McKeown started her career as an Accredited Practicing Dietitian in 2002. While working in a mixture of hospitals, community centres and in private practice, Rachel realised the need to up skill and became a diabetes educator.

“Lots of my clients and patients had diabetes or were at risk of diabetes. I wanted more holistic knowledge about diabetes and how all aspects of diabetes could be managed” said Rachel.

The Credentialled Diabetes Educator course is offered by most universities. If you have a primary health discipline, for example, a nurse, podiatrist, exercise physiologist, dietitian etc. you can complete the course in 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time.

You can find out more about being a Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) on the ADEA website ‘Being a CDE’.

For more information about Credentialled Diabetes Educators, read the ADEA brochure

Written by:

Diabetes Australia