Competency Perceptions of Registered Dietitians in Senior Care Industry: Empirical Study
Seunghee Wie, Kathryn Giebler, Lynn Hanna, Yong Choi

The purpose of this study was to identify competencies required for registered dietitians employed in senior care facilities and to examine the level of importance for three aspects including skill, knowledge, and personality. An agency offering consultant dietitian services voluntarily distributed an online survey to registered dietitians contracted with the agency through their listserv. The online survey was sent to 60 registered dietitians at the agency, yielding 39 usable responses. The results showed that 83% of dietitians gained competencies to work with the elderly through on-the-job training, followed by post-graduate classes and mentors/colleagues. Respondents ranked the following as the most essential competencies: ‘Identification of common risk factors for nutritional decline’ (82% of respondents), ‘Respect for dignity of the elderly’ (79%), and ‘Understanding of the elderly’s wishes’ (74%). Overall, personality attributes were identified as more essential than skills or knowledge.

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