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Diabetes Nurse Practitioner: Salary, Role & Job Description

Diabetes nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who work with diabetes patients to improve the patients' health. They assume the role of both nurse and patient educator.

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What is a Diabetes Nurse Practitioner?

Diabetes nurse practitioners (NPs) collaborate with other healthcare professionals, including endocrinologists, patient educators, dietitians and health care social workers, to help diabetic patients improve and maintain their health. Diabetes NPs examine, interview and diagnose patients; order lab tests; and prescribe treatments. They manage insulin therapies and infusions, monitor patients' glucose levels and help educate patients about their conditions.

Diabetes NPs might work in hospitals or outpatient offices. Though much of their work is collaborative, their interactions with patients generally are one-on-one.

Educational Requirements Minimum of a master's degree in nursing
Job Skills Basic Life Support/Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certified, critical-thinking skills, knowledge of medical equipment and terminology, electronic medical records training, ability to work in a team, strong written and verbal communication skills, self-direction, initiation skills
Median Salary (2018)* $91,749
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 31% (for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the minimum level of education for prospective diabetes nurse practitioners. Some programs offer a specialty or coursework in endocrinology that could benefit future diabetes NPs. Students also might opt to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for advanced studies.

Diabetes nurse practitioners must be licensed as NPs in the state where they'll work. Licensure typically requires current registered nurse licensure, completion of a graduate nursing program and passage of a certification exam. Some employers also look for Diabetes Nurse Practitioners who have earned the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential, which is administered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. To gain this credential, applicants must meet licensure/education and experience requirements. Additionally, diabetes nurse practitioners usually must be trained in Basic Life Support/Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and keep up-to-date on electronic medical records software and compliance requirements.

Required Skills

Because they collaborate with other medical professionals, diabetes nurse practitioners must be able to work in a team and have strong written and verbal communication skills. Likewise, they need self-direction and initiation skills for when they're working one-on-one with patients. They also need well-developed critical-thinking skills to help diagnose patients and determine the best course of action for their health. As medical professionals, diabetes NPs must have extensive knowledge of medical equipment and terminology.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives would experience 31% growth in job opportunities between 2016 and 2026. This was well above the average for all occupations. The BLS specifically noted that nurse practitioners were expected to be used increasingly in team-based care models, such as those employed for diabetes patients.

As of April 2018, nurse practitioners with endocrinology skills earned a median annual salary of $91,749, according to PayScale.

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