If you’re a dietitian with a taste for Diabetes management, you may have considered becoming a Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE)… But do you really know what it takes to become one?
We wrote this blog for any dietitians out there who would like to dig deeper into the world of Diabetes and be able to further their scope to help clients struggling with this chronic condition.
What is a Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE)?
A Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) is someone who has undertaken further education and accreditation (outside of their existing allied health accreditation) to assist and support those suffering from Diabetes. CDE’s are found in a variety of places including hospitals, healthcare centres, medical centres and doctor’s practices.
They are able to:
- Educate and train the patient/client around the condition
- Provide care and help manage the condition through nutrition and lifestyle changes
- Introduce and educate around insulin therapy (including correct injection technique, education on insulin self-adjustment, check injection sites)
- Manage medications effectively and safely
- Provide education on medications, including actions, timing, side effects, interactions
- Provide education on self monitoring blood glucose technique and interpretation of results
- Provide foot care & assessment
- Help implement strategies and set goals for self-management
- Educate on the relationship between Diabetes and other health problems; including impact of concurrent conditions
- Educate on Diabetes complications
If you are looking for further clarification on the scope of practice for a CDE/APD, you can read all about it in this joint statement from Australian Diabetes Eduactor Association (ADEA) and Dietitians Australia (DA).
Sound like something you’d be interested in doing? Keep reading to find out what it takes!
Like any allied health profession, Diabetes Educators are governed by an association known as the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA). So, with that, comes several eligibility and education requirements that create a certification process.
If you are an accredited practising dietitian, you have already met the prerequisite for joining the ADEA. That’s the “easy” part. Just head over to their website and apply for full membership.
Once you have become a member, you must complete a Graduate Certificate of Diabetes Education and Management through one of the ADEA’s accredited courses. As of September 2020, those courses are as follows:
- Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education and Management at University of Technology
- Graduate Certificate in Person-centred Diabetes Care and Education at University of Western Sydney (NSW)
- Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education and Health Care at Mayfield Education Melbourne (VIC)
- Graduate Certificate of Diabetes Education at Deakin University (VIC)
- Graduate Certificate in Primary Health Care (Diabetes Management and Education) at Flinders University (SA)
- Graduate Certificate in Diabetes at Curtin University (WA)
- Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education and Management at Southern Cross University (QLD)
- Graduate Certificate of Diabetes Education at James Cook University (QLD)
For a regularly updated list, head over to the ADEA’s page on accredited post-graduate certificates in diabetes.
Hours of Practice & Mentoring
Now, for the fun part. Once you’ve started studying your Graduate Certificate, you must accrue 1000 (yes, one thousand) hours of practice hours in diabetes education.
You have four years to accrue this, however, 60% (600 hours) must be completed within the 12 months immediately prior to your application. You can start to build up these hours from the moment you complete your Graduate Certificate.
Practice hours are defined by ADEA as, “Work-related practice including clinical, managerial or research, that is directly related to diabetes education, support and management of people living with, or at risk of developing diabetes.” The ADEA validates these hours via a logbook completed by you and a verification letter from your manager/employer.
Outside of that, you must also undertake a minimum of six months mentoring before submitting your initial credentialing application. This must be formally completed through the ADEA Mentoring Program.
TIP: You can find a mentor through the ADEA “Find a Mentor” portal!
Final Steps to Becoming A Credentialled Diabetes Eduactor
That’s not all though! As well as mentoring and practice, you must complete 20 points of Continued Professional Development (CPD) per year… Starting with the 12 months prior to applying for your accreditation. At least 25% (5 points) must be ADEA endorsed activities, which you can find out more about here.
Last, but certainly not least, the final piece of the puzzle required to submit your application for initial credentialing is a referee report. This report can be written by your mentor, a CDE that you work with or your manager/immediate supervisor. Your referee report must:
- Provide an independent view of your ability to meet the ADEACDE core competencies
- Have in-depth knowledge of your practice
- Review and discuss your CPD portfolio
Credentialing is a detailed and rigorous process, which is designed to uphold the integrity of the CDE status. They want you to be successful, and so do we.
Once you’ve got all of the above, you’re ready to apply for your initial credentialling at this link.
Words of Wisdom
Cath Davies, Accredited Practising Dietitian & Credentialled Diabetes Educator (APD/CDE)
We wanted to provide you with a few words of wisdom on becoming a Credentialled Diabetes Educator, so we spoke with Fuel Your Life’s resident CDE, Cath Davies. Cath began her career as a CDE after working as a dietitian in a private practice in Bundaberg, where a majority of her clients had Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM). She now works as a Senior Dietitian, Area Manager and Diabetes Educator Extraordinaire at Fuel Your Life, where she is often offering words of advice to other dietitians on their clients with the condition.
We asked her if there was ONE thing that she wishes she knew before starting the course. She said, “I was already aware of the requirements before starting, but one of the things that may be daunting to other dietitians when applying for their initial credentialing is the 1000hours of practice. They might not be aware that the Diabetes Education that they provide to their clients as a dietitian IS counted and begins the day they commence their Postgraduate Certificate. There can also be a cross over in accumulating your CPD hours/points to maintain your APD and CDE status.”
Andrea Rossides, Accredited Practising Dietitian & Diabetes Education Student (APD)
We also spoke with aspiring CDE & Dietitian from Fuel Your Life, Andrea Rossides. Andrea is currently taking the course to apply for her initial credentialing and had some insight into her experiences to share.
Andrea was not overly interested in Diabetes Management, but after completing a dietetic placement in an outpatient Type 1 Diabetes Clinic alongside a dietitian and a CDE, she realised that that diabetes management is very dynamic, and while there is a crossover between dietetics and diabetes education, there is still so much that dietitians don’t know about managing the condition. She now works in a regional town where a fair portion of her clients have the condition, and despite the challenges that come with balancing full-time work as a dietitian and study in diabetes education, it was all the more reason to take the step.
When it comes to managing that balance, Andrea said that she tries to allocate 2-3 hours per weeknight and a few hours over the weekend to study. For upcoming placements and workshops, she will need to take time off work but can take holiday leave and/or unpaid leave to cover the time.
With that in mind, she also shared a money-saving tip for anyone in a similar position to hers. Turns out, you don’t actually need to become a member of the ADEA immediately – you can start to accumulate your hours before starting your membership, and save yourself a few dollars while you’re studying!
So, there you have it. Do we still have any aspiring Diabetes Educators in the crowd?! Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Where Does Dietitian Life Come In?
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Peta and Tyson are passionate about helping as many dietitians as they can. With their combined 20+ years of experience, knowledge, attitudes, ethics and honesty, they will help guide you through your journey from starting your dietetics degree to getting a job and excelling in (and loving) dietetics long term.
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