Self-monitoring of blood glucose experiences of adults with type 2 diabetes

J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2014 Jun;26(6):323-9. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12042. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyze the experiences of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) usage of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) who are not using insulin.

Data sources: Nineteen adults were asked to describe their experiences with self-monitoring. Data were analyzed using the grounded theory method.

Conclusions: The theory of "SMBG as a Cue in T2DM Self-Care" emerged from the data and is composed of four categories: (a) Engaging, (b) Checking, (c) Responding, and (d) Establishing a Pattern. Engaging marks the beginning. Frequent monitoring characterizes this stage. Checking involves evaluating and validating the blood glucose level. The most common item evaluated or validated was the effect of foods. Responding involves taking action or experiencing emotion. Actions taken centered on dietary changes. Emotions felt were dependent on the level and ranged from blame to happiness. Participants established a pattern and used SMBG regularly or sporadically. Frequency was based on obtaining "normal" patterns, the absence of symptoms, provider disinterest, and fingertip pain.

Implications for practice: Participants described many benefits and struggles when incorporating SMBG into their self-care. Information from this study could be used to develop effective guidelines for the use of SMBG in T2DM.

Keywords: Type 2 diabetes mellitus; diabetes mellitus; self-monitoring of blood glucose; self-monitoring of blood glucose experiences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / methods
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Female
  • Grounded Theory
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life