How to Become a Nurse: Specialty in Diabetes

how to become a nurseDiabetes affects about 24 million people in the United States and is one of the most common diseases Americans face. It presents in two classifications, Type 1, an autoimmune disease where the body produces no insulin, and Type 2, which occurs when the body doesn’t use the insulin produced in the right way.

Assisting individuals with diabetes learn how to check their blood sugar, adjust their eating and exercise habits, and take their medication is the job of a diabetes nurse. This type of nurse works closely with patients and their families to help minimize the damage diabetes can inflect on the body, conduct nutritional therapy, and deal with the psychosocial issues related to this disease.

If you’re thinking about becoming a diabetes nurse, you’ll spend much of your time educating patients and their families on how to maintain proper diet, lifestyle and exercise habits, and medication plans to control the symptoms of diabetes and help prevent damaging side effects like strokes, kidney disease, and blindness.

But first, you have to learn how to become a nurse with this specialty.

How to Become a Nurse: Diabetes Specialty

To become a diabetes nurse, you’ll need both experience and the right education. You’ll first need to become a registered nurse, either with an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. You’ll then have to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

After this training, you can then go on to earn your master’s degree in nursing. Most facilities will want you to become certified, which requires an Advanced Diabetes Management Certification. This certification is given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. However, before you take the exam, you MUST have your master’s degree and have completed at least 500 hours of nursing experience in a setting that involves diabetes.

Once you have the certification, you will need to continue your education in order to keep it. This means taking continued education classes on diabetes. This will help you stay informed about the latest information in this field and the latest technology related to it.

Health Care Assistants: Diabetes

If you’ve completed CNA training, but don’t want to continue your education and learn how to become a nurse, you will still play a big role in the lives of diabetic patients as a health care assistant. It will be your responsibility to help monitor the patient’s eating and drinking habits, encourage them to exercise, and take care of their foot care. Because diabetes is the number one cause of amputations in this country, a patient’s foot care is essential. You’ll need to wash a patient’s feet every day. You’ll also need to examine their feet for sores, cracks, and swelling. If any problems are noticed, you’ll need to report them to their diabetes nurse quickly.

Payscale for Nurses in the Diabetes Specialty

If you’re thinking of getting into this specialty, now is the time to do it. By 2016, the nursing profession is expected to grow by 23%. As a certified diabetes nurse and educator, the salary you can expect to earn can make the education and experience needed worth it. According to, the average Diabetes nurse earns about $61,817 a year. However, some can earn up to $82,455, depending on their location and experience.

Want to make a difference and fight the most common disease in America? Become a diabetes nurse or work as a health care assistant for those who have diabetes. You can change lives.

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