Diabetes educators work in all kinds of settings, most often in a clinic, a diabetes center, a unit in a hospital, or a diabetes education program attached to
an outpatient program. More and more, large group practices and managed care programs are hiring diabetes educators. So we can be found in all kinds of places from the smallest rural area, where there may be only one diabetes educator who consults with colleagues by phone, to major medical centers that have many diabetes educators.
Nonetheless, our services are still not being utilized by enough people. The most recent estimate I saw was that less than 10% of all diabetic patients in the United States see a diabetes educator.
What Can Be Done
We are always preaching to the choir, talking to endocrinologists and other diabetes specialists at diabetes meetings. Our association has made a commitment
this year to expand our horizons and arrange diabetes programs at other health care meetings to acquaint more people with our work. Many people still don’t know about the role of diabetes educators, and many family and general practitioners attempt to meet their patients’ needs for diabetes education themselves.
Physicians simply cannot spend as much time on patient education as we do, and they need to realize that there is a partnership available to help them. We are more than willing to keep the referring physician up to date on what we’re doing, what we’re teaching, what’s happening with their patient. We are willing to partner with any health care provider who needs help from us in caring for a person with diabetes.
Another way the AADE is reaching out to other health care professionals is through its phone number—800-TEAMUP4. Anyone, whether a patient or health care professional, who needs to get in touch with a diabetes educator, can dial this number and find someone in their area. They can also find diabetes educators in their area on our web site— www.aadenet.org. We’re doing everything we can to get people to know who we are, where we are, and what we can do for them.