Mixed methods research approach to the development and review of competency standards for dietitians

Ash, Susan, Dowding, Kerryn, & Phillips, Susan (2011) Mixed methods research approach to the development and review of competency standards for dietitians. Nutrition and Dietetics, 68(4), pp. 305-315.

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Competency standards support a range of professional activities including the accreditation of university courses. Reviewing these standards is essential to ensure universities continue to produce well equipped graduates, who can meet the challenge of changing workforce requirements. This paper has two aims:

  • a) to provide an overview of the methodological approaches utilised for compilation and review of the Competency Standards for Dietetics and;

  • b) to evaluate the Dietitians Association of Australia’s Competency Standards and capture emerging and contemporary dietetic practice.


A literature review of the methods used to develop Competency Standards for dietitians in Australia, including entry level, advanced level and DAA Fellow competencies and other specific areas of competency, such as public health nutrition and nutrition education is outlined and compared to other allied health professions. The mixed methods methodology used in the most recent review is described in more detail.


The history of Dietetic Competency Standards development and review in Australia is compared to dietetic Competency Standards internationally and within other health professions in Australia. The political context in which these standards have been developed in Australia and which has determined their format is also discussed. The results of the most recent Competency Standards review are reported to highlight emerging practice in Australia.


The mixed methods approach used in this review provides rich data about contemporary dietetic practice. Our view supports a planned review of all Competency Standards to ensure practice informs education and credentialling and we recommend the Dietitians Association of Australia consider this in future.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 55451
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-0080.2011.01552.x
ISSN: 1446-6368
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Wiley Blackwell Publishing Asia
Deposited On: 11 Dec 2012 02:02
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2017 07:07

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