Vitamins and Minerals in the Workplace: A New Perspective on Dietetic Education

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Washington, D.C.

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Participants will identify which vitamins/minerals are encountered frequently by RDNs, and in which contexts, as well as RDNs' recommendations for teaching dietetics students about vitamins/minerals in preparation for the workforce. Knowledge of vitamins/minerals is an essential part of the basic framework for dietetics education and practice. There is no research concerning Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ (RDN) use of vitamins/minerals knowledge in their current practice. This cross-sectional study investigated which vitamins/minerals RDNs encounter frequently, and in which contexts, as well recommendations for how to best teach students about vitamins/minerals to prepare them for the workforce. RDNs (N=394) from 44 US states and territories completed a brief survey. Ninety percent of participants were female, and represented all areas of dietetics practice (Clinical, Food Service Management, Community Nutrition, etc.), and years of experience (<1-30+ years). The majority of participants reported encountering the following vitamins/minerals frequently in their practice (at least weekly): Sodium (79%), Calcium (76%), Vitamin D (72%), Potassium (75%), Iron (65%), Phosphorus (57%), Vitamin B12 (51%), and Magnesium (51%). Participants reported encountering these nutrients most often in the following contexts: Labs and Biochemical Markers, Supplements, and Education. Participants rated (on a scale from 1-5; 1=low, 5=high) their confidence in skills and competencies related to vitamins/minerals once they’d completed their dietetic coursework and supervised practice. Results of the Friedson test and pairwise comparisons revealed that Supplement Recommendation (2.42) and Signs & Symptoms (2.5) were two areas that professionals felt the least confident, in comparison to Chart Review (3.54), Education (3.38), and Menu/Diet Analysis (3.16), (p< 0.05). Dietetics education that has a greater focus on training students to appropriately recommend vitamin/mineral supplementation and assess deficiency signs and symptoms may better prepare students for the workforce.

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