Interprofessional role boundaries in diabetes education in Australia

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Diabetes presents a challenge to healthcare services worldwide. Diabetes educators work with individuals and communities to reduce the impact of diabetes. In Australia, diabetes educators derive from one of several primary qualifications including nursing, medicine or a specified allied health background, and have an accredited postgraduate qualification in diabetes education. The peak professional body, the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA), promotes equivalence of all diabetes educators in terms of their scope of practice. However, in practice, there is evidence of inequities, particularly between those from nursing and allied health backgrounds. This paper uses a neo-Weberian lens to explore the interprofessional role dynamics of a ‘postprofessional’ group of practitioners, who adopt a common role and title to create a professional identity at post-qualifying level. Data were collected via individual interviews with 19 stakeholders and analysed using an abductive template approach. Differential role boundaries between nurse and allied health diabetes educators were established and reinforced in several ways. Diabetes education is considered a sub-specialty of nursing only; access to education and credentialing has been restricted for allied health; reinforcement of professional stereotypes and perceived professional values; and perceived legislative differences in access to medication management for nurse and allied health diabetes educators.




King, O., Nancarrow, S., Grace, S., & Borthwick, A. (2019). Interprofessional role boundaries in diabetes education in Australia. Health Sociology Review, 28(2), 162–176.

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