Is it possible to enhance the confidence of student dietitians prior to professional placements? A design-based research model
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Background: Student confidence is an important contributor to a successful professional placement experience. The present study aimed to evaluate a placement preparation program for student dietitians and to assess the impact on self-rated confidence with respect to commencing placements. Methods: The present study is part of a design-based research approach that involves students in a cyclic enquiry to evaluate and improve curricula. Nutrition and Dietetics students at an Australian university participated in a 1-week mandatory workshop – Pre-Placement week (PrePW), N = 98 students: in 2015 (n = 54) and 2016 (n = 44). An online survey was conducted before and after PrePW using a five-point Likert scale (1 = not confident; 5 = very confident) to assess self-rated confidence to commence placements. Mean (SD) scores were calculated. Paired and independent t-tests evaluated within- and between-group differences, respectively. Results: Before PrePW, the mean (SD) for student confidence to commence placements overall (in all areas of practise) was ‘somewhat confident’ [2.9 (0.6) in 2015 and 3.0 (0.7) in 2016]. Students were least confident to commence Clinical Practice [2015: 2.5 (0.6); 2016: 2.8 (0.6)] compared to Food Service Management (FSM) [2015: 3.2 (0.9); 2016: 3.1 (0.9)] and Community and Public Health Nutrition (CPHN) [2015: 3.3 (0.9); 2016: 3.2 (0.8)]. Student feedback from PrePW 2015 was used to change the curriculum and PrePW program. The 2016 students reported significantly greater confidence within all areas of practice: Clinical Practice [3.4 (0.6)], FSM [3.7 (0.6)] and CPHN [3.8 (0.6)], including confidence to commence placements overall [3.6 (0.6)] (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Design-based research provides a useful framework for improvement to curricula and, in this case, was successful in enhancing student confidence in preparation for professional placement.
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.
Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development