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Direct patient contacts of dietetic students during their final clinical placement
journal contributionposted on 2002-03-01, 00:00 authored by Susan TorresSusan Torres, Jane Winter, Helen Matters, Caryl NowsonCaryl Nowson
Direct student-patient contacts, during the professional clinical placement of a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics course, were collected and analysed for the first time using a computerised method. In the final eight-week hospital placement, 26 dietetic students submitted data on direct patient contacts which included: dietetic activities (e.g. assessing, counselling and reviewing); the primary nutritional condition of the patient (e.g. type 2 diabetes and liver disease); and the time spent in contact with patients. The most common dietetic activities were reviews, followed by collection of dietary information and counselling. The most common nutritional condition encountered by students was an inadequate nutrient intake, followed by patients receiving enteral nutrition. Contact time with patients increased over the placement, with proportionately more time spent by students seeing patients independently than when being observed by supervising dietitians. The data collected provided valuable informa tion on the amount of time spent by students in direct patient contacts, the range of dietetic activities undertaken and the amount of time student activities were directly observed. This information will be useful in the development of benchmarks for clinical skill development, hospital and university staff planning and the assessment of the impact of any changes to the format of student placement experience in the clinical setting.