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Pilot study of an innovative model for clinical education in dietetics

journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2009, 00:00 authored by Noel Roberts, Sonia BrockingtonSonia Brockington, E Doyle, L Pearce, A Bowie, N Simmance, Sherryn EvansSherryn Evans, Timothy Crowe
Aim: To pilot and evaluate a new model of clinical dietetics education to address the sustainability of dietetic placements in the clinical setting.

Methods: Final-year dietetics students (n = 14) completed all nine weeks of clinical placement in the pilot program at two large tertiary referral and teaching health services in metropolitan Melbourne. Staff and students completed surveys about their experience within a week of completing placement. Data collected included paid and unpaid staff working hours, hours in clinical and teaching activity, hours of student attendance and student clinical work hours. Data for the last month of the placement programs in the preceding three years were used for comparison with the pilot program.

Results: Combined data for the two providers showed that the model reduced the amount of supervision hours per student hour on placement by 16% while maintaining quality indicators during the pilot compared with previous years. Students in the pilot program were more positive about their experience compared with students in the existing program. The overall trend of responses in the staff surveys was positive for the pilot program, but the trend was not as marked as that of student responses.

Conclusion: The new model of clinical dietetics education was successfully piloted and demonstrated the potential to increase student training capacity without a negative impact on student achievement or major resource demands. Refinements to the model and opportunities to enhance integration into the dietetics degree program were identified during the project. The learning needs of non-English-speaking background students require further scrutiny.



Nutrition and dietetics






39 - 46


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia


Brisbane, Qld.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2009, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia