About one week ago I passed my certified diabetes educator® (CDE®) exam! This exam is very interesting because it can be taken by registered nurses, registered dietitians, physician assistants and others. In fact, when I took NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Diabetes Core Curriculum Workshop™ (DCCW™) this past March, I remember there being more RNs than RDs!
I was excited to study for a certification that is interdisciplinary in this way. It also made me nostalgic for my college days when I took pre-med science courses.
While I am excited to have achieved this worthy credential of CDE® (one needs 1,000 professional hours of experience before taking the exam, so you can imagine, this was a long-term project!), I am just as excited to share with you what a CDE® does.
The truth is, it is impossible to describe all of the roles and tasks of a CDE®. But I believe the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™ are a great start! This is a list of 7 self-care behaviors that are important for people with diabetes. I like this list because it is informative and a great summary. I also like it because I am a big advocate of self-care in all aspects of life!
The AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™ are:
One doesn’t have to cut out carbs or sugar altogether, rather to keep track of total carbohydrate intake as well as aim for an overall healthful diet, with an emphasis on whole grains, veggies, fruits, and minimally processed food. (Sound familiar? This healthful diet is recommended for everyone!)
Again, this is advice helpful for all individuals. Regarding diabetes in particular, physical activity helps manage blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. It is also a key component of weight loss (together with healthy eating) and even a 5-10% weight loss can lead to health improvements.
This relates to regularly checking one’s blood sugar levels. Monitoring one’s blood sugar, as with monitoring other health behaviors (e.g. logging food intake) is not meant to create inner judgment and negative self-talk. Rather it is a way to glean information to know more about where your diabetes management stands and what, if any, improvements can be made.
Possible medications include insulin as well as oral medications. It may also include blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications.
Troubleshooting for different scenarios that can occur and planning ahead to best manage these situations.
Taking steps to decrease one’s likelihood of developing diabetes-related complications, including but not limited to problems of the kidney, eye, heart, or circulatory system.
As with other chronic illnesses, having diabetes can impact your emotional well-being and mental health. It is normal to have a range of emotions related to your diabetes. By finding ways to deal with these emotions in a healthy way, they are less likely to interfere with diabetes self-management.
For more information on dealing with diabetes, check out: https://www.diabeteseducator.org/patient-resources