Diabetes knowledge: are resident physicians and nurses adequately prepared to manage diabetes?

Endocr Pract. Jan-Feb 2007;13(1):17-21. doi: 10.4158/EP.13.1.17.


Objective: To assess and compare the diabetes knowledge of nurses and residents in surgery, internal medicine, and family practice.

Methods: A 21-question survey based on current diabetes standards of care was developed and administered. The results were stratified by type of participant and analyzed statistically.

Results: A total of 52 internal medicine residents (IMR), 21 family practice residents (FPR), 42 surgery residents (SR), and 48 registered nurses (RN) participated. The survey had good overall internal consistency (Cronbach a of 0.78) and test-retest reliability (Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.71). The total mean percent correct for all participants was 61%. The total scores of IMR, FPR, and RN groups were similar (69%, 64%, and 66%) and significantly greater (P<0.001) than the SR score (44%). Collectively, all survey participants averaged less than 50% correct on several items. The IMR scored higher than the SR and FPR on several items. The nurses outscored the physicians on items regarding insulin preparations, treatment of hypoglycemia, and perioperative insulin management. A subgroup of 13 RN with additional diabetes training earned the highest total score (82%).

Conclusion: Our novel survey was shown to be a statistically valid tool for assessment of diabetes knowledge. IMR, FPR, and inpatient RN have similar but insufficient levels of knowledge about diabetes. SR may have a more profound deficit of diabetes knowledge. Previous additional diabetes training among nurses was associated with greater diabetes knowledge. Most nurses and residents require additional education in order to provide optimal care to patients with diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Data Collection
  • Diabetes Mellitus / nursing*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / standards*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Family Practice / education
  • General Surgery / education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education
  • Internship and Residency / standards
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / standards
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards