Expert Opinion

Educating Dietetic support workers

In our final Dietitians Week blog post, Certificate in Nutritional Health & Certificate HE in Nutritional Health course leader Linsey King looks at how Dietetic support workers are taught at Leeds Met.

Dietetic Support Workers (DSW) are an integral part of Nutrition and Dietetic Services today, with relevant training these individuals are able to undertake a wide range of nutrition roles in the acute and community settings to enhance the nutrition of patients/clients.

Our course aims to develop knowledge of nutrition, public health and social care. It provides an opportunity to enhance personal and professional development that relates to roles and work offering the chance to enhance the skills used within the working area. Throughout the learning current responsibilities will be drawn on and the issues faced on a day-to-day basis used. This course strengthens interpersonal skills which are required for effective communication with a variety of diverse individuals and groups. By developing the nutritional underpinning of daily work individuals will be empowered to enhance client/patient experience.

This work-based programme encompasses face to face days within the university setting as well as online learning and work based tasks. This diverse approach ensures that all students are given the best opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in a way that supports their preferred method of learning.

Since 2009 the course has supported the development and successful attainment of the Certificate for over 60 dietetic support workers within our dietetic training cluster. These support workers play a vital role in service delivery at the forefront of care provision and are also heavily involved in supporting the training and development of the future dietetic workforce. This bespoke course, the only of its kind, currently exceeds the minimal requirement for the newly recommended Certificate of Fundamental Care, outlined in the Cavendish review and responds to the evolving need for patient/client centeredness whilst underpinning the patient safety agenda within the Francis report.

This course is evaluated well by students who have experienced it and fundamentally they feel empowered to continue to support patients in their daily work. It also builds confidence in their own ability, whilst reinforcing the sense of self-worth and value placed on their roles. This ensures self-confidence in their own work and renewed assurance from the employers which accumulate into a positive patient/client experience in service provision and nutritional interventions.

Dietitians Week is led by the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and provides a fantastic opportunity to promote the profession nationally and even globally. Throughout the week the BDA have created a range of activities and events that highlight the value of dietitians and their work, but to also celebrate this work in a fun way.

The Week will include a range of national awareness raising and political events throughout the UK to promote the profession and the impact of dietetic practice on the health of the nation.

Linsey King

Course Director / School Of Health

Linsey King is a registered Dietitian and Principal Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics. Linsey has worked at the University for 17 years within the dietetic group in various roles and is currently undertaking her PhD part time within clinical practice.

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