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Carla D'Andreamatteo,Lesley Andrade
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Erin Brown
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Advancing clinical skills: evaluating a program for new graduate dietitians
Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors
Erin Brown, Fraser Health, Surrey, BC
Alysone Martel, Fraser Health, Surrey, BC
Rebekah Sandhu, Fraser Health, Surrey, BC
Canadian dietitians work in increasingly diverse areas, expanding from hospital and long-term care homes to private practice, grocery stores, and private companies. In response, dietitian education programs are expanding the type of practicum placements. As such, new graduates may have less exposure to clinical nutrition skills. Fraser Health employs over 200 dietitians across multiple care areas. As such, there is a demand for high quality continuing education to upskill new graduates for their positions within Fraser Health. Mentorship and continuing education help support them in their transition to employment. Based on these principles, Fraser Health developed an Entry-Level RD Education program to advance clinical skills.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
The Entry-Level RD Education program provides new graduate dietitians with high quality education and mentorship in order to advance practice.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
Prior to starting the Entry-Level RD Education program, a logic model and evaluation plan were developed. Activities included standardized onboarding curriculum, monthly continuing education sessions and six regularly scheduled mentorship meetings over an 18-period. The evaluation plan included both process and outcome measures collected every 3 months.
A total of 12 continuing education sessions were delivered and 32 dietitians were onboarded and mentored over the 18-month period. Sixty percent (n=19) completed a survey providing feedback on the onboarding curriculum. Respondents agreed that the onboarding curriculum met their learning needs and prepared them for their work.
Standardized onboarding curriculum, monthly continuing education sessions, and regularly scheduled mentorship meetings successfully prepared newly hired dietitians for work in advanced clinical settings.
Significance to Dietetics
With the growing diversity of practicum placements within education programs, new graduates have less exposure to clinical skills. Employers of clinical dietitians should consider developing programs with standardized onboarding curriculum, monthly continuing education sessions, and regularly scheduled mentorship meetings to advance clinical skills.
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