Experiences of patients with type 2 diabetes starting insulin therapy

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To explore the lived experience of patients with type 2 diabetes converting to insulin therapy.


An exploratory qualitative approach was adopted focusing on the phenomenon of patients with type 2 diabetes converting to insulin therapy. Individual interviews were conducted with eight patients who had been taking insulin for longer than one year.


Data analysis initially identified 25 themes, which were reduced to nine by connecting similar themes. Participants were not aware of the progressive nature of type 2 diabetes and the need for treatment to be changed to insulin therapy. The decision for insulin therapy to be initiated was usually made by the doctor. Participants were fearful of the thought of self-administering insulin injections, however, they adapted to this treatment and were still able to enjoy activities of daily living. Participants reported that they had a better understanding of their diabetes when they were taking insulin and were willing to share their knowledge with others.


Living with a long-term condition like diabetes is stressful and requires commitment from individuals to self-manage. Participants taking insulin appeared more confident to manage their diabetes and adapted well to this change of treatment.

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