How to Become A Diabetes Nurse


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What it Takes to be a Diabetes Nurse

As a Registered Nurse (RN) in Ottawa, you have a lot of choices in your career. You can stay a generalist or you can be a specialist in any field you choose. Do you love kids? Become a pediatric nurse. Want to work with the elderly? Become a geriatric nurse. Enjoy management? Become a Director of Nursing.

If you love a challenge then consider becoming an oncology nurse or a diabetes nurse. Let’s look at the last option mentioned – the diabetes nurse and what it takes to become one.

The Diabetes nurse specializes in working with people who are diabetic- whether Type 1 or Type 2. A considerable 6.6 percentage of Canada’s population is affected by diabetes and nurses who specialize in the management of this dangerous condition are in short supply and well rewarded.

On the job training for nurses who want to go into this field requires some background in acute care. This is because by working in acute care, one will learn to deal with the acute issues that occur in later stages of diabetes or if a patient does not treat their diabetes correctly. Most managers interviewing nurses for diabetic specialties are almost always asked about their acute care experience. So make sure you have some.

There are so many complications with diabetes that most nurses will encounter with diabetic patients at some point in time. The more a nurse knows about these complications, the better he or she will be if they specialize.

You will also want to get certified in diabetic education and management. This will require that you take courses in the basis of diabetes, its causes, complications and treatment options. Courses in communication and diabetes education are also required. Once certified, these nurses will see patients in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

You might work closely in an outpatient practice such as internal medicine, geriatric, endocrinology, or family practice. Along with a dietician, a certified diabetes nurse will teach monthly classes regarding the impact of diabetes and dietary considerations. In addition to physician practices, hospitals and associations offer these type of classes as well and need diabetes nurses as well.

Some diabetes nurses, certified diabetes educators and diabetes management specialists also go on to become physicians assistants. Some also go on to work for pharmaceutical companies as diabetic educators. In these positions you would educate other nurses and doctors about the disease.

Skills Needed

What skills do you need to begin down this career road? You need to love learning as the knowledge base is extensive and includes new drugs, new treatments, complications of the disease, and how to teach this to patients. You need good organizational skills, listening skills, empathy and organizational skills.


For nurses in Ottawa looking for new challenges, the career of a diabetes nurse can offer all the stimulation and challenges that you need. Your diabetic patients will be at greater risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure and blindness. You must take and pass the National Certification Board exam. Certification has to be renewed every 5 years.


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