Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Dr. Joseph F. Burkard, DNSc, CRNA, Chairperson; Dr. Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN; Dr. David Bittleman, MD


Diabetes, Transition, Veterans


Background and Rationale: Transition from active duty to veteran status may be a challenging time, especially for veterans with diabetes. These veterans face multiple changes that can cause distress. Most veterans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, however a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes on active duty is cause for discharge for active duty.

Purposes and Aims: The purpose of this study was to describe the transition experience of veterans diagnosed with diabetes while on active duty from active duty to veteran status. The study describes barriers and facilitators to healthcare and diabetes self-care management. The four aims of the veterans with diabetes transition study of veterans were to 1) Describe the experience of veterans with diabetes during their transition from active duty to veteran status, 2) Describe barriers and facilitators to healthcare access, 3) Describe diabetes self-management and veterans’ diabetes self-management education, and 4) To note veteran’s health literacy and diabetes distress. Methods: A qualitative, descriptive study was conducted of the transition experience from active duty to veteran status using a sample of 10 veterans with diabetes. Veterans access and barriers to care and use of diabetes self-management resources were measured by a qualitative questionnaire. Health literacy was measured by S-TOFHLA, and distress during by the DDS. Data were collected in the US southwest. Qualitative data analysis was done by uncovering themes and keywords. Quantitative instruments analysis was per instrument instructions.

Results: Two major and four additional themes were uncovered. Major themes included feeling loss due to undesired end of a military career and feeling prepared to leave the military. Participants were compliant with diabetes management and had received diabetes education.

Conclusions and Implications: Transition is an inevitable part of military service. The veterans with diabetes transition study provides data regarding transition of healthcare in veterans from active duty healthcare to healthcare in another system previously absent in the literature. Data gathered during the study contains themes indicating veterans have the potential to be extremely compliant participants in their diabetes self-management. The study serves as a starting point for study of the active duty to veteran transition process.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access