Add a Certified Diabetes Educator to Your Healthcare Team

By American Diabetes Association

A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is the other key player on your healthcare team. In fact, a diabetes educator may be the first person to really tell you about diabetes: what it is and how you can manage it daily.

A CDE is your go-to person for education and management questions. Her goal is to make managing your diabetes easier in your everyday life. For example, a CDE can help you develop a plan to eat healthful foods, get physically active, and take your medications. Her goal is to get to know you, answer questions, and help you troubleshoot problems. After all, you’re the one taking care of your diabetes most of the time: A CDE is the health professional whose job it is to help you do that effectively.

A diabetes educator can be a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, registered dietitian, pharmacist, podiatrist, or psychologist with training to educate and care for people with diabetes. Physicians and physician assistants can also be diabetes educators. A CDE’s role on your healthcare team depends on her specialty and the office setting or hospital where she practices.

A CDE has received credentials from the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators by passing an exam and logging a certain number of hours caring for people with diabetes. Look for the letters CDE in the person’s credentials when choosing a diabetes educator.

When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your provider will likely refer you to a CDE or a diabetes education class taught by one.

Visit a CDE when you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, as well as during yearly visits. You can also see a CDE if you have changes to your medications, eating or exercise goals, or other questions about how to tweak your diabetes management plan.