Describing the work requirements of entry-level dietitians
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Graduate dietitians are employed in diverse work settings, demanding universities to prepare students to perform a variety of work tasks during their degree. Job Description Forms (JDFs) describe the work required of dietitians in these diverse settings. The research aimed to describe the work of entry-level dietitians to inform Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) for dietitians; measurable practice tasks linked to competencies. EPAs form the basis of a shared mental model for student dietitians, their placement supervisors and academics and generate consistency of expectations about entry level performance. JDFs advertised in Australia between November 2017 and October 2018 were compiled using employment search engines, university and new graduate contacts. A content analysis of entry-level JDFs (n = 98) was completed, considering the description of the position, frequencies of similar work tasks and a qualitative analysis of task summaries. Tasks listed in more than 30% of JDFs were classified as common. Analysis classified 22 common work tasks (>30% JDFs). Frequencies for such tasks ranged from 31% (provides multidisciplinary care) to 78% (provides/coordinates effective dietetic services). A list of 46 infrequently listed and/or innovative work tasks was generated. This content analysis highlights work tasks required for a variety of settings and describes the diverse potential roles of a new graduate. These tasks have been used to inform EPAs. Describing the work tasks of entry-level dietitians provides insight for graduates and supervisors to assess entry-level competence. This process describes the range of roles performed by dietitians, including innovative tasks of evolving work fields. Funding source: Learning and teaching grant from the Australian University Technology.
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