Publication Details

Palermo, C., Conway, J., Beck, E. J., Dart, J., Capra, S. & Ash, S. (2016). Methodology for developing competency standards for dietitians in Australia. Nursing and Health Sciences, 18 (1), 130-137.


Competency standards document the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for competent performance. This study develops competency standards for dietitians in order to substantiate an approach to competency standard development. Focus groups explored the current and emerging purpose, role, and function of the profession, which were used to draft competency standards. Consensus was then sought using two rounds of a Delphi survey. Seven focus groups were conducted with 28 participants (15 employers/practitioners, 5 academics, 8 new graduates). Eighty-two of 110 invited experts participated in round one and 67 experts completed round two. Four major functions of dietitians were identified: being a professional, influencing the health of individuals, groups, communities, and populations through evidence-based nutrition practice, and working collaboratively in teams. Overall there was a high level of consensus on the standards: 93% achieved agreement by participants in round one and all revised standards achieved consensus on round 2. The methodology provides a framework for other professions wishing to embark on competency standard review or development.



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