Background: Fear of injections and injection-related anxiety is common among people with type 2 diabetes using insulin therapy (Dunning, 2009). Fear of injections has been associated with poor adherence to insulin therapy and poor glycaemic control, which places people at a higher risk of both acute and chronic complications of type 2 diabetes (Gonzalez, 2011). However, despite awareness of the problem, limited publications are available in relation to this issue, especially on strategies to manage fear of injections.
Aim: To explore the experience of diabetes educators (DEs) in educating people with type 2 diabetes who have a fear of injections.
Methods: This study used a qualitative methodology with Max Van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenology as the framework. The data was collected from in-depth interviews of five DEs from three states of Australia in both metropolitan and rural locations. Participants were recruited via the ADEA weekly update and professional networks.
Findings: Three main themes were generated: attitudes around insulin therapy, education approaches, and confounding factors of the education process. The attitudes around the insulin therapy theme include the sub-themes of: the nature of the fear, background of the fear, manifestations of the fear, and inappropriate perceptions about insulin. The theme of education approaches identified various strategies to manage fear of injections such as: distracting, desensitizing, orientation towards reality, empathy, problem solving approach, and creating a safe and supportive environment. The last theme includes the barriers to patient education such as financial issues and a lack of knowledge and skill.
Conclusion: This study gives deeper understanding about people’s fear of injection from the DE’s perspective. Furthermore, the findings of this study provide specific information for Diabetes Educator’s to improve their knowledge and insight about strategies to help people with type 2 diabetes to overcome their fear of injections.