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Workforce in Diabetes Education

Introduction

The Workforce in diabetes education 2016 survey is ADEA’s first comprehensive national compilation of information and statistics related to the employment status of diabetes educators in Australia.

Findings from this survey provide a greater understanding of the diabetes education workforce in Australia and will assist ADEA in developing projects and resources to support members’ employment opportunities and career development.

The survey collected detailed information about the diabetes education workforce to identify:

Methodology

Open from April until June 2016, the survey received 595 completed responses (741 in total) from both members (518 individuals) and non-member professionals who provide diabetes education services. The majority of respondents (74%) were Credentialled Diabetes Educators (CDEs).

Key findings

These are the main findings from the survey:

1. There is a mature workforce with 41% of participants aged between 50-59 years. This indicates the potential for skill shortages, as if diabetes continues to rise at the current rate, there will be at least 3.3 million Australian adults with diabetes by 20311 while over 41% of the workforce (50-59 years) would have retired. ADEA should continue engaging with the younger groups and keep them in the workforce while at the same time encouraging more health professionals to become diabetes educators.

Chart 1 - Age group distribution

Chart 1 – Age group distribution

2. Our workforce is very experienced, with 32% of participants having 10-20 years experience. Only 8% of respondents had less than 1-year experience.

Chart 2 - Years of experience

Chart 2 – Years of experience

3. The majority (94%) of respondents were female, similar to the gender distribution of ADEA’s membership.

4. Public hospitals are the most common work setting where 38% of participants are currently employed. This is followed by 28% of participants working in community health services or centres and 25% in private practices.

Chart 3 - Work setting distribution

Chart 3 – Work setting distribution

5. 54% of participants work in Victoria, followed by those in Queensland (33%) and NSW (31%) whereas NSW has the highest number of people with diabetes. This distribution of diabetes educators is similar to of the current ADEA membership.

Chart 4 - Workforce distribution in states and territories

Chart 4 – Workforce distribution in states and territories

If these statistics reflect the actual workforce distribution, considering the number of people with diabetes (who have registered with NDSS) in each state from the Diabetes Map, there would be a gap in workforce distribution compared to distribution of people with diabetes (supply vs. demand). The supply vs. demand modelling in chart 5 below reflects this gap. Assuming that all diabetes educators are currently participating in the workforce, in Victoria, each diabetes educator would have to look after 1,000 NDSS registrants, while in NSW each diabetes educator would have to look after 2,200 NDSS registrants on average.

Chart 5 - Supply vs. demand modelling: workforce distribution compared to number of NDSS registrants (hundred)

Chart 5 – Supply vs. demand modelling: workforce distribution compared to number of NDSS registrants (hundred)

6. Most respondents (85%) work in major cities (RA1), followed by inner regional areas (RA2).

7. More than 1 in six respondents (16%) are able to speak a language other than English, enabling them to engage with people with diabetes from CALD backgrounds.

8. The majority (78%) of respondents held a graduate certificate in diabetes education/care.

9. Most respondents (82%) were registered nurses.

10. Most respondents (81%) were employed as clinicians and 7% as non-clinicians.

11. 18% were not actively working in diabetes education, including:

12. Respondents perceived the main roles of the ADEA in supporting the diabetes education workforce to be:

Key areas of focus for ADEA

It is suggested that ADEA focus on the following areas:

1. For current members:

2. For non-members: health professionals from different primary disciplines, such as dietitians, pharmacists, podiatrists, etc.