Patient Simulations Improve Dietetics Students’ and Interns’ Communication and Nutrition-Care Competence Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of simulated patients on dietetics students' and interns' communication and nutrition-care competence. DESIGN: Pre-post observational study in which students' communication and nutrition-care competence was evaluated during the first and final clinical nutrition simulations in winter, 2017. SETTING: University of Guelph, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Seventeen undergraduate students enrolled in Applied Clinical Skills (NUTR*4120) and 15 graduate students/interns enrolled in Practicum in Applied Nutrition II (FRAN*6720). VARIABLES MEASURED: Selected communication and nutrition-care performance indicators (PI) (undergraduates = 18; graduate = 33) included in the Canadian Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice, each measured out of a maximum of 3 points. ANALYSIS: Grand means of communication and nutrition-care PI scores were compared across 2 time points using paired t tests, at a significance level of .05. RESULTS: Undergraduates' (n = 15) communication and nutrition-care PI scores increased by 0.9 ± 0.35 (49.7%) and 0.8 ± 0.22 (45.8%) points, respectively (both P < .001). Graduate students' communication and nutrition-care PI scores increased by 0.4 ± 0.45 (18.5%) and 0.7 ± 0.59 (37.9%) points, respectively (both P < .01). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Simulated patients incorporated into clinical nutrition courses increase dietetics students' and interns' communication and nutrition-care competence. More research using comprehensive practice-based competency assessment tools is needed in larger samples of students and interns.

authors

  • Buchholz, Andrea
  • Vanderleest, Kaitlyn
  • MacMartin, Clare
  • Prescod, Alexia
  • Wilson, Ann

publication date

  • April 2020