Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Committee Chair

Tracy Arnold


It is the bedside nurse that spends the most time and effort managing symptoms of the diabetic patient during the course of a hospitalization. With the goal of optimal blood sugar levels of each patient to promote healing and wellbeing, this task can be quiet daunting. It is imperative for the acute care nurse to acquire a competency level of diabetes management that exhibits evidence-based practice, regardless of length of work experience, in order for patients to receive excellent care. This research studied the level of comfort, familiarity, and knowledge of new nurse graduates while answering the question, “When does inpatient diabetes management readiness begin?” Despite their years of experience, studies report that nurses are managing the care of patients without an adequate level of knowledge related to the clinical decisions necessary in caring for diabetic patients. This, along with the plethora of tasks including blood sugar monitoring several times a day, being aware of caloric intake, overseeing mealtimes and snacks, administering insulin and/or glycemic throughout the day, as well as keeping the physician updated on patients diabetic trends and recommendations, proves to be a great challenge. All of these tasks mentioned help to make up the long list of activities an acute care nurse is responsible for managing, often for several patients, during any given shift.

A qualitative study was conducted to evaluate the knowledge level of new graduate nurses, employed one year or less, along with their feelings of comfort and familiarity of managing the care of patients with diabetes at the bedside. New nurse graduate participants (n = 75) were obtained through a Nurse Residency Program of a Magnet designated hospital located in the Southeast, United States. Data was collected using the Diabetes Management Knowledge Assessment Tool (DMKAT), along with a demographic survey, each administered separately to ensure participants privacy. On average, nurses in this study rated their comfort level of managing diabetes at 7.05 mean and their familiarity level at 5.79 mean. However, from the participant’s test scores of the DMAKT, the overall mean rating for knowledge level of diabetes management was .5844. This result indicated poor actual knowledge of how to appropriately manage diabetic patients at the bedside. Developers of the DMAKT deemed the adequate knowledge should be a score of at least 80 percent. The 58% pass rate in this study indicated there is a significant lack of knowledge exhibited among new nurse graduates’ competency level with bedside management of diabetic patients. Educational institutions and healthcare facilities should be aware of this knowledge gap among new nursing graduates, and take swift strategic action to bring this separation of knowledge level and practice together to ensure competency in the care of a disease that affects 29.1 million Americans today (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2014).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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