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Educators against diabetes

The Deakin-DMDEA course aims at turning nurses into educators as well.

January 29, 2017 05:00 pm | Updated 05:00 pm IST

Professor David Mellor

Professor David Mellor

Today, there are more than 65 million people affected by diabetes in India, and that number only seems to be rising, in rural and urban areas alike. “Diabetes is such a big problem in India and other parts of the world, as people are changing the way they live and eat,” said Professor David Mellor, Associate Dean (International), Deakin University’s Faculty of Health.

Added Dr. V. Mohan, president and director of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, and Chairman of Dr. Mohan’s Group of Diabetes Institutions, “When you talk about diabetes management as a building, it rests on four main pillars: diet, exercise, drugs and education. If you take away two of these pillars — diet and exercise — the building cannot stand. If you take away education too, it doesn’t stand a chance.”

Professor Mellor and Dr. Mohan spoke at the launch event for the Deakin-DMDEA (Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Education Academy) Course for Diabetes Nurse Educators last week.

Unfortunately, doctors don’t always have the time to educate patients on prevention and management. That’s where the role of ‘nurse educator’ comes in. The Deakin-DMDEA course aims at bridging the gap between doctor and patient by equipping nurses with the knowledge to also be educators, in addition to being care-givers.

“The idea is to arm qualified nurses with certain special skills required for diabetes management. So, they are going to become educators of the patients and their families,” explained Professor Mellor.

Dr. V. Mohan continued, “The courses that we have now: students are trained in all aspects of nursing. And while they’re very good in general nursing, when it comes to diabetes knowledge, they might not have much depth. That’s why we are training them to be good nurse educators. We train them in basic aspects of diabetes management and communication. They can then do what doctors will not have time to — talk extensively about diet, for example, or walk them through insulin injections while minimising the associated fear.”

Students of this certification course will be taught by, among others, Dr. Mohan, DMDEA Dean of Studies Dr. Dinesh Selvam, Professor David Mellor, and Professor Bodil Rasmussen, also from Deakin’s Faculty of Health. The course will be offered across six months, with only one weekend contact session per month at DMDEA, Chennai, to accommodate students who may be working or studying full-time.

“This programme is derived from an accredited graduate diploma in Australia. We are taking the core, essential aspects of it and making it amenable to the target audience here. We are culturally and contextually adapting it to the role of the nurse in India,” added Professor Mellor.

There are six modules, one per month, to address the various aspects that a nurse educator must be familiar with, including nutrition, exercise, type and dose of medication, blood glucose monitoring and mental-health issues, such as the interplay between depression and diabetes. “In between, we will give them homework or readings to do. We are even planning pre-tests and post-tests so we can assess their knowledge at each stage,” shared Dr. Mohan.

To qualify for the programme, students must have completed their Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery, or, have completed/be in their final year of B.Sc. Nursing (appearing for exams). Those who have completed, or are currently pursuing M.Sc. in Nursing are also eligible to apply. The all-inclusive tuition fee is R 5,000. Students who are interested in joining the inaugural batch of students from the second module, starting February 21, can apply by February 10 via html#cdne.

For further information, students can contact Dr. Dinesh at

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