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DSMT Toolkit

Chapter 13. Program Licensed Instructors

Each DSMT program seeking accreditation must have one or more licensed instructors who are currently licensed as at least one of the following: registered nurse, dietitian, or pharmacist.

Registered Nurse

A registered nurse can play an integral role in a DSMT program. Registered nurses can provide education to participants on diabetes management, nutrition, exercise, and diet. All registered nurses must be licensed in the state where they are practicing. There are three educational paths to become a registered nurse. The three educational paths include earning a bachelor’s degree, earning an associate’s degree, and earning a diploma.

A registered nurse is commonly known as an RN. In order to be a registered nurse, an individual must graduate from an accredited associate degree or bachelor degree nursing program and pass a national licensure examination known as the NCLEX-RN exam. Once an applicant has passed the national nursing examination, he or she can apply to obtain a registered nursing license in the state where there is an intent to practice. Nurses can be licensed to practice in more than one state. The requirements to maintain licensure are mandated by the nurse practice acts in each state and governed by the relevant State board of nursing.

Registered Dietitian

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert. The registered dietitian is certified to manage meal servings and nutrition programs. Many also are employed as program managers and given the educational background of RDs, some also serve as case managers. The registered dietitian has at least a four year degree and possesses a license in the state where he or she intends to practice. A registered dietitian can hold a license in more than one state. The bachelor’s degree program must be accredited and approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). In addition to obtaining the required bachelor degree, a registered dietitian must complete a CADE-accredited supervised practice program. Once a RD candidate has completed the education and supervised practice program, he or she must pass the national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

A registered dietitian is not the same as a nutritionist. A registered dietitian has fulfilled the education and training to sit for the national registration examination. Upon passage of the registration examination, the individual can then be classified as a registered dietitian. Licensure requirements vary by state.

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A Pharmacist is a professional who distributes prescribed drugs to individuals. They also advise patients and professionals about prescribed drugs. In all states and the District of Columbia, pharmacists must operate with an active license. To obtain a license, a pharmacist must have obtained a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree from an accredited college. The Pharm. D. degree is now the entry level degree required to become a Pharmacist and has replaced the previously accepted Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. Pharmacists that held the previously accepted Bachelor of Pharmacy are listed as Registered Pharmacists (R Ph).

An individual that has a Pharm. D. degree can sit for a national examination provided by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Licensing requirements vary by state so professionals seeking licensure must review the licensing requirements of their particular state.

Certified Diabetes Educator

A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is a certified healthcare professional with expertise in providing diabetes education and self-management training to persons with diabetes. The types of healthcare professionals that often seek the CDE certification include nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, doctors, exercise specialists, podiatrists, and social workers. The education is focused on how to manage diabetes. The education provided includes diabetes self-management and training that includes blood glucose monitoring, meal planning, lifestyle management, and medication management. Before a healthcare professional can be considered a CDE, he or she must pass a formal examination provided by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. Before they can sit for the examination, the professional must have at least 1,000 hours of educating persons with diabetes.

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