Purpose: To gain insight and understanding of emerging adult experiences after a diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and prior to or during college life experiences. Design and Methods: A qualitative research design using a focus group was conducted with 12 college students recently diagnosed with T1DM during emerging adulthood. The focus group took place during a College Diabetes Network retreat. Using Braun and Clarke's six phase process, two researchers independently conducted a thematic analysis from the transcribed, verbatim audiotaped narratives. Results: The 12 participants attended colleges in 11 different states. The mean age was 21 years (SD = 6.3) and the majority were female (n = 7). Qualitative analysis revealed four themes: 1) diabetes affects all aspects of life and complicates college living; 2) college environment affects diabetes management; 3) diabetes diagnosis facilitates growth and maturity; and 4) strategies used for diabetes management in college. Conclusion: T1DM is complex to manage in the college environment. However, these emerging adults newly diagnosed with T1DM highlight strategies for diabetes management while in college and the pivotal role of pediatric providers play in the successful management of T1DM. Practice Implications: Diabetes education for emerging adults in college requires an adaptive focus that supports the developmental needs of this population. Nurses should focus on teaching healthy, modifiable behaviors of sleep, physical activity, and nutrition to improve glycemic control as well as adapting to the college life choices.
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