A statistical model of dietetic intern selection was developed from a profile of selection criteria that was obtained in a 1988 survey of Canadian graduate dietetic internship directors. The model was composed of four clusters of variables that resulted from the most frequently used selection criteria: academic performance, work experience, communication skills, and extracurricular activities. Data from a convenience sample of 39 dietetic intern applicants were analyzed, using principal components analysis and discriminant analysis, to test the model's power to predict success in obtaining an internship appointment. In descending order, the criteria with the greatest predictive powers were: academic performance; extracurricular activities; and supervisory, teaching, or instructing types of work experience. The model accounted for 41% of the differences between those who were successful and those who were not successful in obtaining internship appointments in 1989 and correctly classified 30 of 39 subjects. These results provide baseline data on the predictive power of some criteria used for selecting dietetic interns. These findings suggest the need for a replication study with a randomized national sample to crossvalidate the results obtained in this exploratory research.
Renewed focus on public health has brought about considerable interest in workforce development among public health nutrition professionals in Canada. The present article describes a situational assessment of public health nutrition practice in Canada that will be used to guide future workforce development efforts.
A situational assessment is a planning approach that considers strengths and opportunities as well as needs and challenges, and emphasizes stakeholder participation. This situational assessment consisted of four components: a systematic review of literature on public health nutrition workforce issues; key informant interviews; a PEEST (political, economic, environmental, social, technological) factor analysis; and a consensus meeting.
Information gathered from these sources identified key nutrition and health concerns of the population; the need to define public health nutrition practice, roles and functions; demand for increased training, education and leadership opportunities; inconsistent qualification requirements across the country; and the desire for a common vision among practitioners.
Findings of the situational assessment were used to create a three-year public health nutrition workforce development strategy. Specific objectives of the strategy are to define public health nutrition practice in Canada, develop competencies, collaborate with other disciplines, and begin to establish a new professional group or leadership structure to promote and enhance public health nutrition practice. The process of conducting the situational assessment not only provided valuable information for planning purposes, but also served as an effective mechanism for engaging stakeholders and building consensus.
Registered dietitians (RDs) play a key role in disseminating information about nutrition and intervening in nutrition-related disorders in the Canadian context. Natural health products (NHPs) are increasingly associated with nutrition in patient and health professional discussions. For this study, NHPs were divided into three categories: nutritional supplements (NS); functional foods/nutraceuticals (FF/N); and herbal preparations (HP). The objective was to explore RDs' perceptions about their professional roles and responsibilities with respect to three categories of natural health products (NHPs).
This research consisted of an on-line survey of registered dietitians (RDs) in Ontario.Surveys were distributed electronically to all practicing RDs in Ontario by the College of Dietitians of Ontario. There were 558 survey respondents, a response rate of 20%.
The vast majority of RDs reported being consulted by clients about all product categories (98% for NS; 94% for FF/N; 91% for HP), with RDs receiving the most frequent questions about NS and the least frequent about HP. 74% of RDs believed that NS are included within the current scope of practice, compared to 59% for FF/N and 14% for HP. Even higher numbers believed that these products should be included: 97% for NS, 91% for FF/N and 47% for HP. RDs who report personally ingesting FF/N and HP were significantly more likely to report that these products should be in the dietetic scope of practice. In contrast, RDs who provide one-on-one counselling services or group-level counselling/workshops were significantly less likely to believe HP should be in the dietetic scope of practice.
Opinions of RDs indicated that NS and FF/N (and possibly HP) fall within, or should fall within, RDs' scope of practice. Opportunity exists for RDs to undertake a professional role with respect to NHPs. Policy clarification regarding RD roles is needed.
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