Diabetes Nurse Career Profile

Diabetes nurses help patients with one of the most common, and most difficult, medical conditions in the world. Diabetes is a debilitating, dangerous disease which requires careful management and expert professional care.

The work environment

Diabetes nurses usually work in medical facilities like hospital departments, or specialist clinics. In some cases diabetes nurses travel to remote areas. The basic work of a diabetes nurse is:

  • Assisting with treatments of diabetes sufferers
  • Educating patients and families regarding the condition
  • Advisory work regarding diet and nutrition issues
  • Administration of insulin and medication under particular circumstances
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels
  • Exercise education
  • Community education
  • Dealing with complications involved in diabetes

This job may include a very large workload of patients in various stages of diabetic conditions. The monitoring role is one of the most important of the diabetes nurse's tasks. A major issue in management of the condition is that some patients may suffer very serious complications. These are actual medical crises, requiring expert guidance. Diabetes nurses act as major supports for both patients and their families in these extremely difficult situations.

Best practice in diabetes management is systematic monitoring from onset. This can be a particularly dangerous disease. The best way to manage it is to establish a good working regime for the patient which effectively maintains the patient in good health. Any change in the condition must be identified as soon as possible and corrective action taken. Failure to do so may put the patient at risk of potentially life-threatening situations. The diabetes nurse is the person who is responsible for this vital work.

In cases of advanced diabetes, complications and the onset of their symptoms are particularly important. To stabilize the patient's condition is critical. The diabetes nurse is literally saving lives on a regular basis in this part of the job.

The career environment

Diabetes care is one of the major demographics of health care in the Western world. The demand for diabetes nurses is increasing exponentially.  There's an actual shortage of diabetes nurses. The employment market offers many opportunities for career advancement:

Training roles: The demand for diabetes nurses is naturally creating a need for experienced nurses as trainers.

Clinical roles: The virtual global epidemic of diabetes has greatly expanded the area of specialization, and added to the workload. As advanced practice registered nurses, diabetes nurses are filling the gap between physicians and the demand.

Experienced diabetes nurses have a natural career track as senior nurses in the training and supervisory roles. As registered nurses this is one of the most important career roles, passing on the invaluable experience in their area of specialization. Diabetes nurses may also progress to management roles. These jobs are particularly important roles in clinical management. Diabetes nurses in management can provide frontline specialist services combined with the appropriate managerial expertise to deal with chronic diabetic situations.

Some diabetes nurses may further develop their clinical work through additional qualifications and related studies and move into doctoral roles. This is one of the primary areas of career development for advanced practice nurses, and it's a particularly productive role for these highly motivated professionals.