Diabetes Nurse Education and Training Program Information

Nurses interested in diabetes-related training can pursue a master's degree in nursing with a concentration or minor in diabetes care. Current healthcare professionals seeking to learn more about working with diabetes patients also find a variety of continuing education courses and non-credit training programs.

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Essential Information

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs are specifically designed for licensed RNs. Diabetes-related coursework prepares RNs to help patients manage their diabetes and live a healthy lifestyle. Clinical experiences and research projects are part of the master's-level curriculum. Some programs are specifically designed to prepare students for the exam to earn board certification in advanced diabetes management. Training programs also prepare students for board certification.

Admission to an MSN program requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) and a current RN license. Applicants are also required to submit GRE or GMAT scores, as well as evidence of professional nursing experience and references. These programs are designed for those currently working in the health care field. Some programs require students to be currently licensed nurse practitioners or registered nurses, while others are open to anyone who works with individuals with diabetes.


Master of Science in Nursing with a Concentration in Diabetes

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs are available with a specialization in diabetes nursing, and they prepare RNs for positions as specialists in diabetes care and management within health care organizations, academic institutions, hospitals, and private practices. Most programs include a capstone experience, nursing project or thesis. Graduate nursing students can complete their MSN in about two years.

MSN programs with a diabetes nursing concentration offer courses in providing patient care and management advice to patients, caregivers and health care professionals. Students interested in diabetes care and management consider these courses:

  • Principals of diabetes care
  • Diabetes pathophysiology and assessment
  • Pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions in diabetes care
  • Diabetes care program development
  • Behavioral approaches to diabetes management
  • Clinical management of adult diabetes

Diabetes Nursing Training Options

Current health care professionals wishing to expand their knowledge of diabetes patient care and diabetes education find professional education programs at many colleges and universities. Some programs award a certificate upon completion, while others award continuing education units. These programs are designed specifically to prepare students for the Board Certification in Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM) exam or to earn the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential offered by The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). These training courses last anywhere from three days to six weeks. Common topics discussed in these courses include:

  • Chronic complications
  • Acute complications
  • Pathophysiology of diabetes
  • Insulin delivery systems
  • Diabetes management in the hospital
  • Diabetes educator practices

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment will grow by 16% from 2014-2024 for RNs in general, which is faster than average (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that this increase is attributed in part to an aging population and age-related diabetes. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for RNs in 2015 was $67,490.

Certification Information

The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) offers the Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM) certification, which promotes the nurse's role in diabetes education and emphasizes clinical practice. Requirements to earn the BC-ADM credential include an RN license, completion of a graduate-level nursing degree, at least 500 hours of clinical practice in advanced diabetes management within the past four years, and passing grades on an exam. The BC-ADM credential must be renewed every five years.

The NCBDE administers the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) program. Nurses who earn the CDE certification have formal roles as diabetes educators and can teach patients and their caregivers to effectively manage the disease and adhere to the treatment strategy. They monitor the effectiveness of diabetes self-management programs and may also teach diabetes self-management to other health care professionals and groups.

Nurses who wish to obtain the certification must be licensed RNs with at least two years of full-time experience and have at least 1,000 hours of experience in diabetes self-management education, as well as at least 15 hours of NCBDE-approved diabetes-related study during the two years preceding application. The CDE must be renewed every five years and in order to be eligible, the CDE-holder must have worked at least 1,000 hours in diabetes self-management education during the five years preceding the renewal application.

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