A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) (or now known as Diabetes Care and Education Specialist) is a health care provider that cares for people with diabetes in the totality of the patient. This goes much deeper than just looking at an A1C and changing a basal rate based on numbers. In my eyes, a CDE is a nurse, dietitian, and counselor in one. They dedicate a huge portion of their practice to helping people with diabetes to be as healthy and happy as possible, and this is exactly the reason why I am working towards obtaining my CDE.
There was no better place to help solidify this career goal than the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Conference. The College Diabetes Network surpassed expectations as always with the opportunities they strive to provide for their members; they brought seven young adult leaders to Houston as part of their NextGen Leadership program to attend the conference. This program is set up to help these students be immersed in situations that will enhance their career opportunities in the diabetes field. As a NextGen leader, we help staff the booth during the event, attend various meetings, and listen to amazing speakers in sessions that cover a wide range of topics, such as mental health, nutrition, and new technology.
The next night we held a CDN reception for parents who have children with T1D who are going to be going off to college in the near future. We were able to share our experience to help ease their worries a little bit. Through this, I was able to meet two fellow Lumberjacks from Stephen F. Austin State University! The people I met even offered for the CDN Chapter I am president of there to have a booth at a JDRF walks this coming semester.
At this conference, I was presented with so many vast opportunities that I don't even know where to start. I do know that without CDN my eyes would not have been opened to the career paths out there in the diabetes field. I arrived at the conference knowing I wanted to work somewhere in this field and I left with a little bit better of an understanding of what I could do to help contribute to our community. If you are looking into giving care to people with diabetes I would highly suggest reaching out to CDN to see how they can help you reach your goals. They will be able to help you pinpoint exactly where you would like to go and they will do everything in their power to help you get there.
Read the rest of the NextGen Leader experiences at AADE and other conferences here!