August 05, 2017
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VIDEO: Diabetes language matters

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INDIANAPOLIS — In this video exclusive, Endocrine Today Diabetes in Real Life columnist Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, talks with Jane K. Dickinson, PhD, RN, CDE, program director for the Master of Science in Diabetes Education and Management at Teachers College Columbia University, about the use of language in diabetes education and care.

“Words do make a difference to people with diabetes,” Dickinson said. “There are a lot of words that we typically use in our diabetes vocabulary ... that are very judgmental, that bring on a lot of shame and blame and guilt, and that aren’t helpful in how we talk about diabetes and how we talk about people who live with the disease.” Examples include “compliance,” “adherence” and “control.” Better choices might be “manage,” “live with” and “influence,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson said she has met with some resistance to changing the language of care, specifically, charges that her project is merely “political correctness” and that other taboo words will arise in the future.

“But it’s not about particular words,” Dickenson said. “It’s about how we’re communicating with people. ... It’s all about positive relationships.”