Challenges in preparing the dietetics workforce of the future: An exploration of dietetics educators' experiences

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6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

AIM: Dietetics educators represent a small but influential workforce group that has experienced significant change in recent years. The workforce development challenges faced by this group have been largely unexplored. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of, and challenges faced by, academic dietetics educators in preparing dietitians for the workforce.

METHODS: The approach taken in the present study was informed by qualitative description. Fifteen dietetics educators employed by 13 universities across Australia were purposively sampled. In-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted via telephone (n = 12) or face-to-face (n = 3) were digitally recorded then transcribed verbatim. Data were managed with NVivo and inductively analysed using open coding. Codes were condensed into themes through an iterative process involving multiple researchers.

RESULTS: The overarching theme of 'aiming for a moving target' was underpinned by the themes of: (i) striving for betterment; (ii) bridging dissonance and (iii) distressing impossibilities. Interviewees described how they were driven to enhance the preparation of dietitians but acknowledged disparity between what graduates are being prepared for and what they need to be prepared for. Heightened expectations of others, professional constraints and a lack of collegiality among the profession were among the challenges that manifested in a sense of frustration, concern and isolation.

CONCLUSIONS: Dietetics educators are motivated to shape and enhance the future profession. However, they face numerous challenges in their efforts to prepare graduates who are well-equipped for increasingly diverse dietetics practice. Strong leadership, academic collaboration and greater engagement of the broader workforce are required for the benefit of the entire profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-391
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Volume76
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

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Dietetics
Nutritionists
Frustration
Telephone
Research Personnel
Interviews

Cite this

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title = "Challenges in preparing the dietetics workforce of the future: An exploration of dietetics educators' experiences",
abstract = "AIM: Dietetics educators represent a small but influential workforce group that has experienced significant change in recent years. The workforce development challenges faced by this group have been largely unexplored. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of, and challenges faced by, academic dietetics educators in preparing dietitians for the workforce.METHODS: The approach taken in the present study was informed by qualitative description. Fifteen dietetics educators employed by 13 universities across Australia were purposively sampled. In-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted via telephone (n = 12) or face-to-face (n = 3) were digitally recorded then transcribed verbatim. Data were managed with NVivo and inductively analysed using open coding. Codes were condensed into themes through an iterative process involving multiple researchers.RESULTS: The overarching theme of 'aiming for a moving target' was underpinned by the themes of: (i) striving for betterment; (ii) bridging dissonance and (iii) distressing impossibilities. Interviewees described how they were driven to enhance the preparation of dietitians but acknowledged disparity between what graduates are being prepared for and what they need to be prepared for. Heightened expectations of others, professional constraints and a lack of collegiality among the profession were among the challenges that manifested in a sense of frustration, concern and isolation.CONCLUSIONS: Dietetics educators are motivated to shape and enhance the future profession. However, they face numerous challenges in their efforts to prepare graduates who are well-equipped for increasingly diverse dietetics practice. Strong leadership, academic collaboration and greater engagement of the broader workforce are required for the benefit of the entire profession.",
author = "Kate Morgan and Reidlinger, {Dianne P} and Sally Sargeant and Linda Crane and Campbell, {Katrina L}",
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Challenges in preparing the dietetics workforce of the future : An exploration of dietetics educators' experiences. / Morgan, Kate; Reidlinger, Dianne P; Sargeant, Sally; Crane, Linda; Campbell, Katrina L.

In: Nutrition and Dietetics, Vol. 76, No. 4, 01.09.2019, p. 382-391.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Challenges in preparing the dietetics workforce of the future

T2 - An exploration of dietetics educators' experiences

AU - Morgan, Kate

AU - Reidlinger, Dianne P

AU - Sargeant, Sally

AU - Crane, Linda

AU - Campbell, Katrina L

N1 - © 2018 Dietitians Association of Australia.

PY - 2019/9/1

Y1 - 2019/9/1

N2 - AIM: Dietetics educators represent a small but influential workforce group that has experienced significant change in recent years. The workforce development challenges faced by this group have been largely unexplored. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of, and challenges faced by, academic dietetics educators in preparing dietitians for the workforce.METHODS: The approach taken in the present study was informed by qualitative description. Fifteen dietetics educators employed by 13 universities across Australia were purposively sampled. In-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted via telephone (n = 12) or face-to-face (n = 3) were digitally recorded then transcribed verbatim. Data were managed with NVivo and inductively analysed using open coding. Codes were condensed into themes through an iterative process involving multiple researchers.RESULTS: The overarching theme of 'aiming for a moving target' was underpinned by the themes of: (i) striving for betterment; (ii) bridging dissonance and (iii) distressing impossibilities. Interviewees described how they were driven to enhance the preparation of dietitians but acknowledged disparity between what graduates are being prepared for and what they need to be prepared for. Heightened expectations of others, professional constraints and a lack of collegiality among the profession were among the challenges that manifested in a sense of frustration, concern and isolation.CONCLUSIONS: Dietetics educators are motivated to shape and enhance the future profession. However, they face numerous challenges in their efforts to prepare graduates who are well-equipped for increasingly diverse dietetics practice. Strong leadership, academic collaboration and greater engagement of the broader workforce are required for the benefit of the entire profession.

AB - AIM: Dietetics educators represent a small but influential workforce group that has experienced significant change in recent years. The workforce development challenges faced by this group have been largely unexplored. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of, and challenges faced by, academic dietetics educators in preparing dietitians for the workforce.METHODS: The approach taken in the present study was informed by qualitative description. Fifteen dietetics educators employed by 13 universities across Australia were purposively sampled. In-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted via telephone (n = 12) or face-to-face (n = 3) were digitally recorded then transcribed verbatim. Data were managed with NVivo and inductively analysed using open coding. Codes were condensed into themes through an iterative process involving multiple researchers.RESULTS: The overarching theme of 'aiming for a moving target' was underpinned by the themes of: (i) striving for betterment; (ii) bridging dissonance and (iii) distressing impossibilities. Interviewees described how they were driven to enhance the preparation of dietitians but acknowledged disparity between what graduates are being prepared for and what they need to be prepared for. Heightened expectations of others, professional constraints and a lack of collegiality among the profession were among the challenges that manifested in a sense of frustration, concern and isolation.CONCLUSIONS: Dietetics educators are motivated to shape and enhance the future profession. However, they face numerous challenges in their efforts to prepare graduates who are well-equipped for increasingly diverse dietetics practice. Strong leadership, academic collaboration and greater engagement of the broader workforce are required for the benefit of the entire profession.

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DO - 10.1111/1747-0080.12438

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VL - 76

SP - 382

EP - 391

JO - Nutrition and Dietetics

JF - Nutrition and Dietetics

SN - 1032-1322

IS - 4

ER -