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Continuing professional education needs of clinical dietitians in Pennsylvania.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the American Dietetic Association
0002-8223
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
90
Issue
2
Pages
282–286
Identifiers
PMID: 2303669
Source
Medline

Abstract

A multimethod needs assessment generated both qualitative and quantitative data about continuing professional education needs and interests of Pennsylvania clinical dietitians. The study also evaluated three different needs assessment procedures. First, data were obtained from 22 clinical dietitians invited to participate in focus group interviews. The dietitians suggested continuing education topics representing four aspects of practice: clinical, procedural, professional development, and management skills. With the data obtained, two needs assessment instruments subsequently were prepared and distributed at a statewide conference. Fourteen percent of 650 attending dietitians volunteered to participate in the needs assessment process. Forty-four completed a survey using an electronic preference recording device, and 50 completed printed questionnaires. Although not directly comparable, responses to both questionnaire formats generally confirmed suggestions obtained from focus groups. Topics such as computer applications, patient education, staff development, and time management led the wide variety of choices selected. Respondents favored live, affordable, conveniently located programs delivered effectively by experts using a participatory format. Of the three assessment procedures used, focus group interviews provided the most detailed information for planning continuing education. Surveys based on focus group results are useful for contributing quantitative data. We conclude that a comprehensive plan for dietitians' professional development through continuing professional education should include structured needs assessments. The assessments are necessary to determine the diverse and changing concerns, needs, and preferences of dietitians and the organizations employing them.

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