Development of a model and a survey of clinical dietitians, employers, and educators for interest in advanced medical nutrition therapy practice and education
The purpose of this project was to investigate interest of clinical dietitians, employers, and educators in advanced medical nutrition therapy practice and education. A model of advanced medical nutrition therapy practice was developed from interviews with twenty-one credentialed, advanced practice dietitians. The model is composed of a single overarching theme: using initiative to achieve autonomy. The five sub themes are aptitude, attitude, expertise, context and approach. The model formed the basis of a 44 item survey that was pre tested for reliability. Usable responses were obtained from 440 of 978 (45%) clinical dietitians, 77 of 114 (67%) educators, and 62 of 107 (57%) employers. Mean responses (5 = very interested; 1 = very uninterested) were calculated. X2 was used to test demographic differences between responders and non responders. ANOVA and Sheffe's post hoc test were used to compare between group responses. Mean (±SD) interest in obtaining advanced practice education was highest among dietitians (3.93 ± 1.01) and was significantly different (p < 0.01) from employers (3.74 ± 1.28) and educators (2.76 ± 1.33). Interest in completing a doctoral level degree was significantly (p < 0.01) different among dietitians (3.05 ± 1.28), employers (3.18 ± 1.30) and educators (2.3 ± 1.34). Mean interest in employing dietitians with a doctorate in clinical nutrition was highest for employers (4.02 + 0.93), then dietitians (3.28 ± 1.12), and educators (3.08 ± 1.35). Means were significantly different (p < 0.01) between all combinations of groups. Interest in providing practice sites was also significantly different between all combinations of groups (p < 0.01) with mean interest for dietitians, employers, and educators 2.92 ± 1.28; 3.61 ± 1.05; 2.33 ± 1.22 respectively. There was no difference in interest in developing courses (2.75 ± 1.24, 3.15 ± 1.06, and 2.75 ± 1.34) or a clinical doctorate program (2.67 ± 1.28; 2.77 ± 1.18; and 2.43 ± 0.23) for dietitians, employers and educators respectively. Data suggest that clinical dietitians are interested in obtaining advanced practice education and clinically focused doctoral level degrees. It appears that there are jobs for these dietitians. Educators may want to explore new programs to meet the needs of interested clinical dietitians.
0350: Health education
0573: Public health