Point/Counter

Should the number of hours required for the certified diabetes educator credential be lowered from 1,000 hours?

Click here to read the Cover Story, "With new name, diabetes educators positioned to meet growing health challenges"

POINT

We have to expand the numbers of diabetes educators, but not everyone is at the level where they can become a CDE.

Joan Bardsley

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators hours requirements for the CDE credential have changed over time. The certification alone does not make anyone more proficient, but it provides a consistent measurement and acknowledgement of knowledge and skills. Unless there is a practice requirement in place, how do you know people aren’t simply good test takers?

We want to make sure that diabetes care and education specialists have the ability to perform assessments beyond the textbook piece, and adapt and individualize education to the needs of the person with diabetes. You can only do this with experience.

Now, we have expanded what counts as experience. In the past, volunteer hours did not count; now, they do. Other activities can count toward experience. We want to make sure that when someone uses the credential they are looked at as the expert in the field. We try to reflect all the ways educators can and are helping people with diabetes. That is the big picture.

That said, we are looking at other ideas going forward. There may be other opportunities for very specific credentials. You could have the overarching credential of the diabetes care and education specialist, or CDE, and there could also be smaller, “micro” credentials. Those have not been put in place, but this could potentially be a way to bring more people on board.

There are many areas this could hypothetically encompass. It could be based on a certain line item, for example, a certified insulin pump trainer or perhaps something that delineates different “levels” of educators, for example, the community health worker or professionals who do not have the education background. There is a huge role for these people, and the need is so great. By doing this, the educator could play a bigger role in overseeing or serving as an administrator for these programs, making sure people have the necessary technical skills. We have to expand the base, but not everyone is at the level where they can become a diabetes care and education specialist or a CDE. There is other work that people can do where they could be proficient and perhaps work toward the greater goal of the larger credential.

Joan Bardsley, MBA, RN, CDE, FAADE, is associate vice president of research and nursing integration at MedStar Health Research Institute. Disclosure: Bardsley reports no relevant financial disclosures.

COUNTER

The NCBDE must maintain the integrity and intent of what a CDE is.

Tommy Johnson

While certification may be a future goal for a health professional who elects to become a diabetes educator, NCBDE states on its website that the CDE credential is not intended to serve as an entry level to the specialty. Rather, being a practice-based certification, it requires individuals to accrue professional practice experience prior to applying. This practice experience is necessary to master the knowledge and application of that knowledge associated with the specialty.

That said, NCBDE has done a good job expanding eligibility requirements for people who can sit for the CDE exam. The organization created a Unique Qualifications (UQ) Pathway that is available to health professionals who do not hold one of the qualifying registrations/licensures or advanced degree in social work that are included under the standard pathway, but who do hold advanced degrees in health care concentrations/majors. Preapproval is required by NCBDE. After their degree is conferred, they must have a minimum of 2 years of experience working/volunteering under the auspices of that degree and a minimum of 2,000 hours of diabetes education experience with at least 400 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding submission of the UQ application. In meeting the hourly requirement, professional practice experience is defined as responsibilities within the past 4 years that include the direct provision of diabetes education, as defined by NCBDE. Allowing volunteer hours to count toward earning the credential is just one example of the increased flexibility shown by NCBDE.

There has to be a certain level of demonstrated expertise. This credential is for people with advanced knowledge in diabetes. NCBDE must maintain the integrity and the intent of what a CDE is. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves “diabetes educators” who may or may not provide accurate information and advice to people with diabetes. That is one of the things the NCBDE criteria tries to minimize. They have worked hard to make it as accessible and open to as many individuals as realistically possible.

Tommy Johnson, PharmD, CDE, BC-ADM, FAADE, is professor of pharmacy practice at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy in Clinton, South Carolina. Disclosure: Johnson reports he serves on an advisory board for the American Pharmacists Association.

Click here to read the Cover Story, "With new name, diabetes educators positioned to meet growing health challenges"

POINT

We have to expand the numbers of diabetes educators, but not everyone is at the level where they can become a CDE.

Joan Bardsley

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators hours requirements for the CDE credential have changed over time. The certification alone does not make anyone more proficient, but it provides a consistent measurement and acknowledgement of knowledge and skills. Unless there is a practice requirement in place, how do you know people aren’t simply good test takers?

We want to make sure that diabetes care and education specialists have the ability to perform assessments beyond the textbook piece, and adapt and individualize education to the needs of the person with diabetes. You can only do this with experience.

Now, we have expanded what counts as experience. In the past, volunteer hours did not count; now, they do. Other activities can count toward experience. We want to make sure that when someone uses the credential they are looked at as the expert in the field. We try to reflect all the ways educators can and are helping people with diabetes. That is the big picture.

That said, we are looking at other ideas going forward. There may be other opportunities for very specific credentials. You could have the overarching credential of the diabetes care and education specialist, or CDE, and there could also be smaller, “micro” credentials. Those have not been put in place, but this could potentially be a way to bring more people on board.

There are many areas this could hypothetically encompass. It could be based on a certain line item, for example, a certified insulin pump trainer or perhaps something that delineates different “levels” of educators, for example, the community health worker or professionals who do not have the education background. There is a huge role for these people, and the need is so great. By doing this, the educator could play a bigger role in overseeing or serving as an administrator for these programs, making sure people have the necessary technical skills. We have to expand the base, but not everyone is at the level where they can become a diabetes care and education specialist or a CDE. There is other work that people can do where they could be proficient and perhaps work toward the greater goal of the larger credential.

Joan Bardsley, MBA, RN, CDE, FAADE, is associate vice president of research and nursing integration at MedStar Health Research Institute. Disclosure: Bardsley reports no relevant financial disclosures.

PAGE BREAK

COUNTER

The NCBDE must maintain the integrity and intent of what a CDE is.

Tommy Johnson

While certification may be a future goal for a health professional who elects to become a diabetes educator, NCBDE states on its website that the CDE credential is not intended to serve as an entry level to the specialty. Rather, being a practice-based certification, it requires individuals to accrue professional practice experience prior to applying. This practice experience is necessary to master the knowledge and application of that knowledge associated with the specialty.

That said, NCBDE has done a good job expanding eligibility requirements for people who can sit for the CDE exam. The organization created a Unique Qualifications (UQ) Pathway that is available to health professionals who do not hold one of the qualifying registrations/licensures or advanced degree in social work that are included under the standard pathway, but who do hold advanced degrees in health care concentrations/majors. Preapproval is required by NCBDE. After their degree is conferred, they must have a minimum of 2 years of experience working/volunteering under the auspices of that degree and a minimum of 2,000 hours of diabetes education experience with at least 400 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding submission of the UQ application. In meeting the hourly requirement, professional practice experience is defined as responsibilities within the past 4 years that include the direct provision of diabetes education, as defined by NCBDE. Allowing volunteer hours to count toward earning the credential is just one example of the increased flexibility shown by NCBDE.

There has to be a certain level of demonstrated expertise. This credential is for people with advanced knowledge in diabetes. NCBDE must maintain the integrity and the intent of what a CDE is. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves “diabetes educators” who may or may not provide accurate information and advice to people with diabetes. That is one of the things the NCBDE criteria tries to minimize. They have worked hard to make it as accessible and open to as many individuals as realistically possible.

Tommy Johnson, PharmD, CDE, BC-ADM, FAADE, is professor of pharmacy practice at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy in Clinton, South Carolina. Disclosure: Johnson reports he serves on an advisory board for the American Pharmacists Association.