Careers and Employability. Career Planning for Nutrition and Dietetic Students

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Careers and Employability

Career Planning for Nutrition and Dietetic Students



Career Planning for Nutrition and Dietetic Students

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT © University of Chester Updated September 2012 All Rights Reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the copyright owner, other than as permitted by current UK legislation or under the terms of a recognised copyright licensing scheme.


Careers and Employability Lisa Rogers

Career Consultant [email protected] (Chester) 01244 513066

Careers & Employability Centre (opposite The Binks Building) Chester Campus

Careers and Employability University of Chester Parkgate Road Chester CH1 4BJ


Contents Career Plans for Dieticians: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Career plans for Nutritionists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Creating your CV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Presenting Your CV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Content and Layout: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Sample CV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 CV Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Making Applications: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Additional Information in Support of Your Application: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Covering Letter: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Interview Skills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Before The Interview: Practical Preparation & Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Interview Questions: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Post Registration Education and Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Dietitians continuing professional development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


Career Plans for Dieticians: Most dietitians are employed in the NHS, but may also work in the food industry, education, research or on a freelance basis. As a newly qualified dietitian you can work in a variety of areas, many of these are with the NHS, within hospitals or community roles, as Dietitians, health educators or as managers. You may be already thinking about an area you would aim to specialise in. There are also opportunities for dietitians to work outside of the NHS in a variety of different areas such as: nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn

food industry education research business charities media freelance work consultancy work

As a qualified dietitian you will have special skills in translating scientific and medical decisions related to food and health to inform the general public. You will also play an important role in health promotion. There are clearly defined roles within the NHS starting with a basic grade dietitian at band 5, through to the dietitian specialist role at band 6 and then the more senior roles at band 7 of dietetic team manager, dietetic specialist and dietitian advanced. The path you choose will depend on your career interests, e.g. working in a community-based role in patients’ homes or at a GP clinic. A basic grade dietitian will work in a variety of settings in order to gain the experience necessary for promotion. This will also enable you to determine possible areas to specialise in for your future career. In industry you could move into product development and marketing roles. Some dietitians move into teaching and research. There are also a wide range of opportunities for dietitians outside the NHS, such as in the food industry, sports, public relations, scientific research and journalism. Dietitians can also


become self-employed, which would give you the flexibility to choose how your career develops according to your interests. This could involve working for organisations such as the NHS on a freelance basis in combination with other activities, for example, writing for health publications.

Career plans for Nutritionists Most nutritionists are employed in the health care sector, but may also work in the food industry, education, and research or on a freelance basis. You may be already thinking about an area you would aim to specialise in. As a newly qualified practitioner you can work in a variety of areas as a nutritionist, health educator or manager within industry, research, the health sector or government. In summary as a Nutritionist you could progress your career in any of the following areas: nn Health improvement – Promoting good health through nutrition and the prevention of nutrition-related illnesses in the population; nn Research – Study a wide range of nutrition-related topics. Working in laboratories for companies, research institutes or universities nn Industry – Join a business organisation where the focus is on food and nutrition to improve the overall health of the population. Food and drink manufacturers, retailers, medical food companies. nn Nutrition in government policy – Improve the diet and health of the population by protecting the public’s health and consumer interests to find ways to improve diet The purpose of this booklet is to help you prepare your CV so that you can make an effective application to the employer of your choice, be successful at interview and get your first job. You will be able to go step by step creating a dynamic CV, writing a personal statement and then knowing how to prepare for an interview. Before you start compiling your CV or completing your first application form you might like to us the template set out in the following pages to analyse the skills and experience you have to date.


Creating your CV When creating your CV you will need to identify your skills and experiences, highlighting: nn Professional qualifications nn Social work experiences nn Additional qualifications and employment experiences. Your CV will be a dynamic document that will change and develop as your experience grows. It’s much easier to amend an existing, well prepared CV than to start from scratch, particularly when you’re under pressure because you’ve just seen that dream job advertised! Not all job applications require a CV, but keeping yours up to date means that you have to hand most of the factual information you are likely to need when completing an application form or on-line application.

Preparing your CV There are two ways of reviewing the information for your CV. Some will be recording key dates, employers and qualifications, but crucially it is how you reflect on your experiences that will make your CV stand out and make the employer want to meet you. You will need to record, reflect and have the evidence to prove you can do the job. Have a job description and person specification for a relevant job to refer to. In order to help you in the preparation process the following table identifies key criteria from job descriptions and person specifications. By auditing your clinical, academic and life experiences you will be able to show the evidence needed to satisfy what an employer wants


Person Specification Essential & Desirable Criteria Use the following grid to detail evidence of skills you have. Match these to what an employer wants: READ THE PERSON SPECIFICATION & JOB DESCRIPTION Refer to: Clinical areas you have worked on; academic skills and experience; previous work before your dietetics careers and the range of life skills you have developed.



Professional Qualifications: Your PG diploma/degree

Additional Qualifications: Reference to school qualifications; GCSEs, A levels.

Career Pathways/ Profile: Reasons for this choice Exploring options Future aspirations


General Clinical skills & knowledge: Assessing, planning & evaluating care Providing treatments Health promotion Record keeping Knowledge and enthusiasm for this clinical area.

Communication: Interpersonal skillslistening, written/verbal Giving information Dealing with conflict

Team Working: Multi-disciplinary teams working Collaboration

General skills & Knowledge: Prioritising Using initiative


Personal skills and qualities: Caring, empathetic, enthusiastic, motivated, flexible, innovative, ability to use initiative, keen to learn Reflective Practice: Reflection Self-awareness Engaging in reflective practice Research for practice: Examples of being an evidence based practitioner Professional Development/ Education & Training: Lifelong learning C.P.D Portfolio Developing others, supervising and teaching Ability to act as a role model


Safe Practice: Clinical governance Clinical supervision Accountability Responsibility Additional Information: Computer skills; sporting; member of clubs, societies; member of committees; volunteer work; positions of responsibility. Referees: Your PAT and a key worker on placement

The table above will have helped you identify the key experiences from your dietetics careers so far, as well as other experiences you have had prior to your dietetics life. It is now important to present this information in a CV that will create impact. All the evidence and experiences you have now collated will also help you write your personal statement for your application form.


Presenting Your CV: Below is a suggested format and headings you could use over 2 pages: Student Dietitian 10 Chester Street Chester CH1 234 Tel 01244 123456 Email: [email protected] Personal profile: Professional Qualifications: Professional Skills and Experience: Additional Qualifications: Employment Experience: Additional Information: References: Although there are various styles for constructing a CV, this booklet will concentrate on a style which works well for a first dietetics post. There are some clear conventions for presenting your CV which are strongly recommended because they are what employers expect: nn No more than two sides of A4 nn Word-processed in a clear font like Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Times New Roman nn Information always presented in reverse chronological order: the most recent experience first. nn Word processed clearly in size 12 font so that it can be printed out and read easily. White good quality paper when printed. Only use black font. nn Spaced out well, using indent, bold, underline, and bullet points consistently and in a way which aids clarity.


nn Avoid at all costs using coloured paper or ink, photographs or illustrations, or elaborate folders. Quite apart from the photocopying problems, flashy presentation is assumed to disguise poor content! nn Use words from the ‘power list’ when creating bullet pointed statements. Words such as: Achieved, Assessed; Collaborated, Completed, Consolidated, Demonstrated, Diversified, Effected, Evaluated, Generated, Improved, Inspired, Managed, Organised, Persuaded, Proposed, Reported, Stimulated, Trained, Unravelled. See the full list on page 17.

Content and Layout: Page 1: Start with your name and put your personal details underneath:

Sarah Thomas

14 Garden Lane Chester CH2 3LX 01244 657433 mobile: 0774 397584 email: [email protected]

Personal Profile This is one sentence which describes what you are and what you are looking for, for example: “A soon to qualify dietitian seeking a first post in this hospital trust, where I can put my knowledge and interest in nutritional needs of the elderly to good use and build on existing skills and experience”


Professional Qualifications This should start with your dietetics course and include the dates of study, the institution attended and the qualification(s) obtained.

Professional Skills and Experience This can be presented as a list of your placements, A, B, C (with dates – month / year), starting with the most recent (or the most relevant for the job you are applying for) and providing brief details of main experiences and skills gained during each. It is not necessary to repeat skills but rather you should indicate additional skills developed and how skills have advanced throughout different placements. Make the most of the variety of experiences you may have had: Not everyone will have had the same experiences; ensure you stand out. For example: nn Placement A (06/09 2006)-Hospital Trust nn Observed the work of the senior dietitian assessing the nutritional needs of patients on a general medical ward nn Developed my communication skills as I observed the work of the members of the multi-disciplinary team; supporting patients and relatives and interacting with fellow professionals.

On page 2Additional Qualifications As far back as secondary school. List any qualifications achieved starting with the most recent subjects passed and grades, including A levels or their equivalents and GCSE subjects (C and above) and grades or their equivalent. Include also short courses and certificates.

Employment Experience Again starting with the most recent, list your employment, giving the dates (month/year is enough), name and location of employer and your job title, and a sentence or couple of bullet points which summarise what you did. Think in particular about the “transferable skills” you developed which can be applied to a career as a dietitian – communication, interpersonal skills,


time management, team working, record keeping. There’s no such thing as irrelevant work experience! If you have done significant voluntary work, include it here – it’s not just about paid employment.

Additional Information This enables you to draw attention to IT skills, languages, sports and coaching, first aid, prizes and awards, driving licence, and other interests and positions of responsibility. You can include membership of organisations e.g.: Parent Teacher Association or Territorial Army in this section.

References It is optional to include these on your CV. If you wish to include them, you should provide the name, job title, postal address, contact phone number and email of two referees for your application. One must be your Personal Academic Tutor, who is the only person who can write your University reference. A good choice for your second referee is a current or previous employer such as a ward manager. It is courteous to ask this person whether they are prepared to be a referee; they are unlikely to refuse! You need only ask them once, not each time you apply for a job. Many job adverts require on-line applications and it is crucial to address the section of the application form that asks for any additional information and supporting evidence. This is your chance to sell yourself and promote the skills you have explored whilst preparing your CV.


Use theWords: Action Person Specification

The person specification details the criteria by which an employer will be assessing Words thatcandidates. can effectively Thedescribe criteria your specify experiences the requirements of the roleholder, comprising qualifications, experience, skills, personal qualities and Accelerated Accomplished Achieved Activated Acquired Addressed Administered Advised Amplified Analysed Anticipated Applied Appraised Appropriate Approved Arranged Assessed Assimilated Augmented Authorised Averted Avoided Bought Built Centralised Collaborated Combined Compiled Completed Composed Computed Conceived Concluded Condensed Conducted Consolidated Controlled

Converted Corrected Counselled Created Cultivated Decentralised Decreased Defined Delivered Demonstrated Designed Determined Developed Devised Directed Discharged Disposed Distributed Diversified Documented Doubled Edited Effected Eliminated Enacted Enforced Engaged Enlarged Established Estimated Evaluated Executed Expanded Expedited Extracted Familiarised Forecasted

Formed Formulated Generated Guided Implemented Improved Improvised Inaugurated Increased Initiated Inspired Installed Instigated Instructed Insured Integrated Interpreted Intervened Introduced Invented Invested Investigated Launched Led Lightened Managed Maintained Measured Merged Minimised Modernised Monitored Observed Obtained Operated Organised Originated

Performed Persuaded Pioneered Planned Positioned Predicted Prepared Presented Prevented Processed Procured Produced Programmed Promoted Proposed Proved Published Purchased Recommend Redesigned Reduced Recruited Regulated Rejected Related Renegotiated Reorganised Reported Resolved Restricted Reviewed Revised Revitalised Saved Scheduled Selected Set Up

Shaped Simplified Solved Specified Staffed Standardised Started Stimulated Streamlined Strengthened Strengthened Structured Studied Succeeded Surpassed Supported Superseded Supervised Surveyed Taught Terminated Tested Tightened Trained Translated Treated Trimmed Tripled Uncovered Unified Unravelled Utilised Unified Wrote

other attributes. Some criteria will be essential, whilst other criteria will be considered desirable.


Sample CV Student Name

10, Chester Street Chester CH1 234 Tel 01244 123456 Email: [email protected] Personal Profile: A recently qualified dietitian, keen to use and build on the skills gained as a student. I have a strong commitment to providing client centred holistic care whilst developing my knowledge. Professional Qualifications: 2007-2010

BSc Nutrition & Dietetics (Hons) University of Chester

Professional Skills and Experience: 2010-2013: A range of placements undertaken over two years including: Placement C nn Developed and built on my interpersonal skills, showing empathy and understanding to patients and their families nn Expanded clinical skills in the area of rehabilitation and ability to assess patient’s needs nn Developed skills that I had observed in previous placements and understood the need for flexibility nn Acted on my own initiative when planning patient care Placement B nn Able to work under pressure and manage time effectively nn Team working developed, working well with qualified members of the team, referring for support and advice when required Placement A nn Gained my initial experience working as part of a multi-disciplinary team nn Observed a range of skills used by practising dietitians assessing patient’s nutritional needs.


Additional Qualifications: 1999-2006

Chester High School, Chester 2 A levels - Biology (B), English (C) 6 GCSEs including English, Maths & Science (A-C)

Employment Experience: 2005-2007:

Residential Home- Chester: Support worker: nn Gained experience working within a team supporting elderly residents nn Opportunity to develop interpersonal skills, listening to and empathising with the residents


Variety of part time work in the retail sector: Chester and Ellesmere Port nn Developed a range of communication skills whilst dealing with the public nn Able to take on roles of responsibility as experience grew: supervising others within the team

Additional Information: Computer skills: nn Competent with a range of computer packages nn Working towards the ECDL qualification nn Able to accurately word process assignments and reports Sports & social activities: nn I participate in a range of activities on a regular basis: aerobics, running and I enjoy team games nn Responsible for organising social events for group members. Current valid driving licence. References: PAT Employer University of Chester Clinical Manager Health & Social Care Chester Hospital CH4 2BJ CH1 234 [email protected] [email protected] 01244 345678 01244 456345


CV Layout Name

10 Chester Street Chester CH1 234 Tel 01244 123456 Email: [email protected]

Personal profile:

Professional Qualifications:

Professional Skills and Experience:


Additional Qualifications:

Employment Experience:

Additional Information:



Making Applications: Additional Information in Support of Your Application: In order to prepare this section of your application form you need information about the job (the job description) and information about the characteristics the employer is seeking in the successful applicant (the person specification). You would also be advised to research the Trust and clinical area you are aiming to work in, in order to market yourself effectively for the job. nn An opening statement describing your current situation and why you are applying for the job- you could expand on your careers profile here, but make sure you target it to this particular job. nn State why you want the job and why you want to work for this Trust nn Describe your own experience and explain why it is relevant to the post. Include reference to any special features of your course and clinical placements; outline what you could contribute as a dietitian nn Refer to the job description and person specification to make sure what you say about yourself matches the expectations of the employer nn Use headings and refer back to the job description for ideas of heading titles eg: Reason for applying for this job- Career profile/aspirations Professional qualifications Clinical experience & specific knowledge General skills & personal qualities Management of patient caseload Commitment to professional educational, personal development, Professional responsibility and awareness of current issues in health care

And finally: If you are using the on-line option you will be able to send your completed application form off with a click the mouse. If however you are approaching an employer on line with an attached CV or application form always ensure that any email messages are checked for spelling grammar as you would with any letter.


The Covering Letter: When applying for positions requiring a CV it is normal practice to provide a covering letter to accompany it. You can use your covering letter to put your CV in context for the position and for highlighting how you match the selection criteria for the role. Your covering letter presents your motivation more explicitly. A covering letter should: nn nn nn nn

Be tailored specifically to the role applied for Demonstrate to the employer your interest in and knowledge of the role Highlight particular parts of your CV that are your unique selling points Provide additional information that does not fit easily into your CV.

Style nn Address your letter to a named person, this will ensure that it reaches the right individual. It also gives you a contact name for a follow-up call or email. nn Think from the employer’s perspective rather than your own. Tell them what you can contribute to the organisation rather than how it can benefit you. Do not send a standard letter with only the key details changed. nn Your covering letter should be no more than one page long and with short and clearly themed paragraphs - aim for no more than four paragraphs as a rule.

Content Use the following format as a guide for your letter: nn Briefly introduce yourself, stating the post that you are applying for nn Explain why you are interested in this type of work and show an understanding of what it is likely to involve. nn Explain why you are interested in working for this particular employer. Demonstrate enthusiasm and evidence of research into such aspects as their successes, key activities, mission and values, clients and their main customers. nn Highlight what makes you suitable for this position. Provide evidence of your key strengths and skills by referring to experience described in your CV. Aim to show that your key strengths reflect their requirements. nn Ensure there are no errors and spelling mistakes and that you have written the addressee’s name correctly.


Use the Person Specification The person specification details the criteria by which an employer will be assessing candidates. The criteria specify the requirements of the roleholder, comprising qualifications, experience, skills, personal qualities and other attributes. Some criteria will be essential, whilst other criteria will be considered desirable. You need to meet all essential criteria, but partially meeting the desirable criteria is acceptable as long as you state your willingness to learn, train or develop. A useful way to prepare your covering letter is to draft how you match each of the criteria with examples of evidence. Sometimes it can be useful to group together related skills such as oral and written communication, time management and organisational skills, demonstrating your claim with evidence. A variety of areas in your life can provide examples of evidence including: academic, employment, personal/social, leisure and interests. Think about your transferable skills and provide a range of examples of why you can do something. Avoid saying “I have good IT skills”, give evidence to prove this. The person specification describes the employer’s ideal candidate and your covering letter should show how closely you resemble that.


Interview Skills Preparation is the key part of the interview process:

Before The Interview: Practical Preparation & Planning nn Research the Hospital Trust, organisation, employer: extra knowledge of the Trust and specific unit involved will demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Knowledge of the job description with an understanding of the job specifications is vital. Understanding about any recent expansions, changes or developments would be useful nn What skills are required to do the job ? can you talk to people who are already working there? Have you had an opportunity for an informal visit? Have you scrutinised the job specification highlighting essential and desirable criteria needed? nn Prepare questions: questions about the hospital trust; job prospects, preceptorship, mentoring, training etc. rather than questions about salary nn Make a copy of your application form and CV for your reference nn Make necessary domestic arrangements. Ensure you won’t be interrupted during the interview time. nn Do you know how to get there and how long it will take? nn Where are you going? Which building, floor, room? nn Do you know what to take: the letter inviting you to the interview, name of interviewer, file with CV and application form, exam certificates and a list of questions to ask nn Find out beforehand as much as you can about the interview itself. How long is it scheduled for and what format will it take? E.g. one-one, panel, presentation needed nn Decide on what you are going to wear the day before nn Arrive promptly


Self-presentation: Practical presentation and planning Dress: smart but comfortable. nn Conservative rather than high fashion nn Clean shoes, clothes, hands nn Pay attention to hair and grooming nn Not too much jewellery, make up, perfume, after shave

Preparation for the Interview nn Make sure you have recently read through your CV and application form. Have you evidence and examples of the skills and qualities you have highlighted? nn Think about why you want this job nn Think about the skills you have that are desirable and/or essential for the job nn Highlight your strengths and training needs: don’t think in terms of weaknesses

How to act in an interview nn nn nn nn nn nn nn

Try to relax - do not fidget Have a firm handshake Smile and try and remember people’s names Be aware of your non-verbal communication, body language, eye contact Speak confidently; slowly. It is acceptable to stop and ask for clarification Be positive, enthusiastic and motivated. Keep a balance between one word answers and saying too much and becoming over powering. Be clear and to the point, expanding on ideas without ‘waffling’ nn Do not appear to criticise previous employer or work colleagues nn Never say anything that you cannot justify

Asking questions nn nn nn nn nn


What about induction? Training opportunities? Further opportunities within this Trust? Why is the position available? What skills are needed to succeed?

After the Interview nn Make sure you gain feedback from the employer so that you can move on and know what you could do next nn Why were you not successful?: not enough experience, qualifications shortfall. Seek feedback from the employer to identify how they think you could improve nn If you are unsuccessful at the interview make sure that you can gain some positive points from the experience nn DO NOT FORGET: 7-10% is what you say 20- 30% is how you say it 60-80 % is your image, body language and the overall impression you create


Interview Questions: This list has been compiled to help you prepare for your interview. The questions highlight the range of topics and scenarios you may be asked. You will not be asked every question.

Questions that relate to you the person and your past experience: nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn

How do you think your work experience will benefit you in this job? How would your work colleagues describe you? What do you consider your strengths to be within a team? What do you think makes an effective team? What makes you happy in a job? In this job there could be some stress. What do you do to unwind? How generally would you say you coped with stress? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Tell me about yourself? What skills can you bring to this job? How would you evaluate your training needs? What has been your main achievement to date? Tell me how you organise your work and prepare for deadlines Recall a personal achievement; what strategies did you use to be successful?

Questions which relate to motivation and the Health Service/ organisation: nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn


What attracted you to this job? What would you hope to learn from your first post as a dietitian? Why did you decide to choose this as a career? What do you think you have to offer this role? What do you see as the main challenges of this post? What do you see as the main challenges facing dietitians in the Health Service today? How do you see your career path developing over the next two years? What are you looking for from a career? Why do you want to work for this Trust? How would you describe your ideal line manager?

Questions that relate to studies and practical experience: nn What criteria did you use to decide where to study nutrition and dietetics nn What has been your best piece of work? Why? (Or your worst piece and why)? nn Can you tell me about three main things you have learnt from your practice? nn Learning new ways of doing things is important for development. Can you think of an example of some good practice that you would have liked to see adopted elsewhere? nn How do you see your role changing as you start work? nn Which placements have you enjoyed least/most? nn Tell me about the least satisfying aspects of your current job or last placement? nn Tell me about the key responsibilities you have had?

Questions that ask you to explain what you have done or what you might do in certain circumstances: nn Think of an example when your priorities changed quickly or suddenly. What did you do and what happened? nn Reflect on a situation in which you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it? nn How do you monitor and evaluate your professional competence? nn Describe a situation in which you were able to encourage others to take a chance with a new idea or project. What did you do? nn How do you share professional expertise with others? nn Think of a time when you had to handle a tough problem that challenged fairness or ethical issues. What did you do and what was the outcome? nn Think of a time when you have acted with integrity in your work/job relationships


Recent Band 5 job questions: nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn nn


Why do you want to work in community? How would you assess confused patients, How would you deal with violent patients on home visits? What is the fasting blood glucose level for diagnosis of diabetes? Why do you want to work for this trust What considerations do you need to take into account when dealing with the elderly? What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic? What would you do if you were preparing a tube feeding regime a patient was at risk of re-feeding syndrome? What experience do you have of working within an outpatient’s clinic, give examples? What would you do if a consultant did not agree with your assessment and care plan and asked you to carry out a different care plan? What does evidence based practise mean to you? What additional skills can you bring to the role? A nurse asks you to change the patients feed as he has diarrhoea, what do you do? What charts are used to assess diarrhoea? What parameters are you looking for in a patient that could be at risk of re-feeding syndrome? A patient cannot consent to treatment, what do you do? What does the term scope of practise mean to you? And how can you demonstrate you are working within your scope of practise?

Post Registration Education and Practice Dietitians continuing professional development Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is now mandatory for dietitiansas HCPC registrants since July 1st 2006The HCPC-(Health & Care Professions Council) requires dietitians to maintain a record of their CPD and will audit each of the professions on a rolling programme to ensure this is being done. The BDA fully supports dietitians in undertaking CPD in order to maintain safe practice and the knowledge and skills required to support effective practice. The requirement being: half a day per month. The HCPC define CPD as ‘a range of learning activities through which health professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice’. Engagement in CPD activity is seen very much as the responsibility of the individual. However, the BDA-(British Dietetics Association) recognises the individual practitioner cannot undertake CPD in isolation. Employers and managers should support the practitioner’s professional development by encouraging learning to take place at work and through providing support for other learning opportunities.

BDA members are likely to have very diverse needs in terms of CPD, including dietitians taking a career break, those working outside the NHS and dietitians seeking to enhance their academic qualifications. The clear message from the BDA is that CPD is for all practitioners irrespective of the area of work and a number of initiatives have been developed to assist all members in fulfilling the BDA’s minimum requirements for CPD. For dietitians who may not have access to formal educational or development activities - for instance those on a career break - the association is currently developing self-assessment questionnaires relating to articles in the professional journal. The BDA runs regular ‘returners’ to the profession courses, for dieticians wishing to come back to dietetics after a break and is also developing an open/flexible learning programme for potential ‘returners’. A full outline on the requirements for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is available on the Health & Care Professions Council web site as well as information about registration. (The Health & Care Professions Council regulates health, psychological and social work professionals.) 31

Careers and Employability


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