Insulin-related knowledge among health care professionals in internal medicine

Rachel L. Derr, Mala S. Sivanandy, Lauren Bronich-Hall, Annabelle Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background. Inpatient diabetes treatment has become more complicated recently with the introduction of new insulin formulations and a new emphasis on tight blood glucose control. Insufficient knowledge of insulin contributes to errors in its use that may cause adverse patient outcomes. Methods. Seventy-three faculty members, 113 residents, and 191 nurses from four hospitals completed a 20-item multiple-choice questionnaire that assessed knowledge of insulin nomenclature and characteristics and inpatient insulin use. Results. The percentage of knowledge-based questions answered correctly was low: 51% for faculty, 59% for house staff, and 47% for nurses. Scores on questions testing knowledge of insulin nomenclature and characteristics were similar to scores on those addressing inpatient insulin use among faculty and house staff; however, nurses scored better on the former than the latter (60 vs. 34%, P < 0.0001). Knowledge of names and characteristics of newer insulins, such as glargine, aspart, and lispro, was poor compared to knowledge of older insulin formulations among all professional categories (46 vs. 78%, P < 0.0001). House staff performed better than faculty (62 vs. 49%, P = 0.09) and nurses (62 vs. 34%, P < 0.0001) on questions regarding inpatient diabetes management, but all groups frequently missed questions involving sliding-scale insulin use and dosing insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes. Conclusion. Educational programs teaching insulin characteristics and inpatient diabetes management are needed for all categories of health care providers. Increased knowledge may help to improve patient safety in the hospital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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