Evaluation of a Structured Nutrition Competence Program for Dietitian Assistants

Publication Name

Journal of Allied Health


OBJECTIVE: To explore the perspectives of dietitian assistants in a tertiary teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia, following the implementation of a formal competence and professional development program. METHODS: All currently employed dietitian assistants at a tertiary teaching hospital in Sydney were eligible to participate. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken by two student dietitians. Transcripts were returned to participants for interviewee transcript review and further clarification of information. Transcripts were qualitatively described. RESULTS: A total of 9 dietitian assistants participated in interviews in October 2019. The average age of participants was 45.11 yrs (range 29–59) and 90% were female (n=8). The average length of employment was 197 months (range 3–516). Three themes emerged including: (a) new job satisfaction, (b) positive influence of the dietitian assistant educator, and (c) challenges of new processes and responsibilities. CONCLUSION: A supported structured competence and professional development program has provided dietitian assistants with new skills and renewed job satisfaction. Further research should consider the impact of the newly developed skills of dietitian assistants on patient care and outcome measures.

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