Manual for accreditation of dietetic education programs

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1 Manual for accreditation of dietetic education programs Version 1.3 (October 2015) Dietitians Association of Australia ABN

2 Acknowledgements The publication of this manual is the result of collaborative work undertaken by many people. The manual was first published in 1994 and was reviewed in 2005, 2006 and DAA would like to thank all those who have contributed to the development of this manual since 1994: DAA Education and Accreditation Committee (1997) Dietetics Standards and Accreditation Advisory Committee ( ) Australian Dietetics Council (2009 ) Staff of the universities with education programs in dietetics National Office staff members This edition was published in 2010 by DAA s Accreditation, Recognition and Education Services unit (now named Accreditation, Recognition and Journal Services). Revision history Version Date Section Details 1.3 October 2015 DAA staff titles and Accreditation Unit name 1.2 October 2011 Section 3.2 Sections 3.1 & 4 Section 3.9 Placement language, External advisory committees, Processes for new programs, Wording on dietetic course material and websites 1.1 December 2010 Section 5 Core fields of study updated 1.0 September 2010 Release of revised document Published by the Dietitians Association of Australia ACN Dietitians Association of Australia 1/8 Phipps Close Deakin ACT 2600 ISBN _am_10v2 The Dietitians Association of Australia makes every effort to ensure that the information provided on its website is up to date and accurate. If you print a hard copy of this manual for your reference, please regularly check the website to ensure that you are working from the most current version. DAA takes no responsibility for use of out-of-date versions of the manual. Copyright Dietitians Association of Australia 2015 All rights reserved.

3 Contents Introduction 1 Section 1 DAA s role in dietetic education Key purpose of the profession DAA s role in the recognition and credentialing of the nutrition and dietetics profession in Australia DAA s philosophy of continuous quality improvement DAA s role in education programs 5 Section 2 National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians in Australia What are the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians? Components of the National Competency Standards How the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians are used History of development 8 Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation Planning for course development Professional representation on course advisory committees Staffing Course management and evaluation Curriculum Clinical Placement program International students transferring into dietetic programs University facilities and resources Wording on dietetic course material and websites 15 Section 4 Accreditation process Key DAA organisational groups involved in the accreditation process Stages of the accreditation process Key phases of accreditation reviews Cost of accreditation Preparation of accreditation reports University site visit 25 Section 5 Guidelines for curriculum development core fields of study Unit 1: Underlying knowledge Units 2 9: Knowledge and skill at professional level 33 Glossary of terms 35

4 Introduction Accreditation is the public recognition awarded to academic programs that meet established criteria and educational standards. The main goal of the accreditation process is to assure and enhance the quality of an academic program. As the accrediting body for the dietetics profession in Australia, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) serves and protects the public by assuring the quality and continuing improvement of nutrition and dietetic education programs. The DAA Manual for accreditation of dietetic education programs has been developed to guide universities who seek to conduct, or who are conducting, dietetic education programs. The manual provides detailed information on all aspects of the DAA accreditation process and aims to support all participants through accreditation and re-accreditation processes. The manual is divided into six sections: 1. DAA s role in dietetic education 2. National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians in Australia 3. Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation 4. Accreditation process 5. Guidelines for curriculum development core fields of study 6. Accreditation report templates. While the manual contains the information required to inform the accreditation process, all universities are encouraged to also maintain ongoing contact with DAA National Office. DAA is dedicated to ensuring that its policies are fair and equitable and invites any feedback that will assist in improving accreditation services. A full list of DAA accredited dietetic programs can be found at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Dietetic programs currently accredited. 1

5 Section 1 DAA s role in dietetic education The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is committed to a high standard of professional expertise in its members, leading to the highest quality of health care within the wider community. Dietetics is a self-regulated profession and DAA believes this is best served by a quality improvement and professional development framework. Consistent with this approach, DAA is committed to a high standard of education for entry-level dietitians. DAA has ensured that structures and processes for education, accreditation and professional development are quality focussed, independent and transparent. Since1988, DAA has formalised these processes with the development of appropriate committee structures to oversee accreditation and recognition services. DAA strives towards best practice and evidence-based education for students. The Australian Dietetics Council (ADC) was formed in July The Council s primary function is to provide independent high-level strategic advice to the DAA Board on matters relating to accreditation and recognition, ensuring that DAA delivers accreditation and recognition services that are efficient, effective, equitable, accountable and transparent and are framed in a best practice model. The Council communicates to the DAA Board via the Executive Manager - Accreditation, Recognition and Journal Services (ARJS), but operates independently to ensure that impartiality is maintained. The Council comprises nine members appointed by the Board for a two-year term. Members consist of three senior academic dietitians, three senior practitioner dietitians and three external members. A list of current members is available at > About DAA > Australian Dietetics Council. 1.1 Key purpose of the profession The key purpose of the profession of nutrition and dietetics is embodied in the following statement: The profession of dietetics contributes to the promotion of health and the treatment of illness by optimising the nutrition of communities and individuals. It utilises scientific principles and methods in the study of nutrition and applies these results to influence the wider environment affecting food intake and eating behaviour. ( > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Accreditation policies) DAA recognises that the differentiation between nutrition and dietetics is not universal. In Australia there is a distinction made between dietitians and other occupations in the nutrition and food science field, including that of nutritionist. The key difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that, in addition to or as part of their qualification in human nutrition, a dietitian has undertaken a course of study that has included substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in medical nutrition therapy (individual case management) and food service management in addition to assessed and supervised professional practice in community and public health nutrition. Therefore, in Australia, all dietitians are considered nutritionists; however, nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot take on the specialised role of a dietitian. 3

6 1.2 DAA s role in the recognition and credentialing of the nutrition and dietetics profession in Australia Dietetic education in Australia is generalist, its combination of skills are such that it prepares novices for careers in a variety of settings. DAA supports diversity in teaching approaches and differences in emphases within dietetic education programs, while maintaining essential common core elements of study. In supporting diversity, DAA enables universities to respond to the dynamic health environment and permits choice for potential students. DAA supports innovation in dietetic education that prepares dietitians for an increased diversity of professional roles. DAA supports the education of dietitians as outlined in the Education for Dietitians policy: Final assessment of competence to enter the profession will occur in the final year of an undergraduate or postgraduate program of dietetics study. Students are assessed against the DAA National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians (see Section 2). These Competency Standards describe standards for entry-level practice in Australia with the scope of practice at university exit described by the range of variables statements. DAA sets, maintains and reviews national competency standards for nutrition and dietetic education and details the competency standards required for entry into the profession. In meeting competencybased standards, there is flexibility for universities educating dietitians to provide programs that most suit their skills, resources and expertise, and the recognised needs of the community. remains committed to generalist education for entry to the profession, including some preparation in medical nutrition therapy, population health focussing on community and public health nutrition and advocacy for the food supply, in addition to food and nutrition service management. ensures that demands for increasing levels of sophistication in particular interest areas do not distort the concept of generalist entry-level education. accredits programs that provide a broad and sound foundation in nutrition and dietetics (see the Accreditation and Re-accreditation of Dietetics Programs policy > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs >Accreditation policies). has a national accreditation system, including on-site visits. The accreditation process includes examination of program structure and management, individual subjects or programs, staffing levels, qualifications of staff, quality of classroom and laboratory facilities, library and other support services, student assessment procedures, and organisation of practical placements. DAA is responsible for the accreditation of dietetic education programs in Australia. Graduates of accredited dietetic programs are eligible for membership of DAA and are eligible to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) program. Entry to the profession of dietetics as a novice represents only one step in the continuing development of members. The Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) credential depends on commitment to continued professional development towards personal learning goals. APD is the only national credential recognised by the Australian Government, Medicare, the Department of Veterans Affairs and most private health funds as the quality standard for nutrition and dietetic services in Australia. It is a recognised trademark protected by law. Most new Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) are required to complete a provisional year, which includes the completion of a minimum 12-month mentoring partnership. (There is an alternate process for experienced and practising dietitians to gain full APD status). The Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (AdvAPD) credential recognises an advanced level of skills in dietitians professional work. Advanced Practitioners demonstrate an ability to appreciate the wider context of dietetics and demonstrate skills in business, planning, supervision, research, resource management and industrial relations issues. It is awarded to a proactive leader who integrates high-level nutrition and dietetic skills to generate new knowledge to influence the health of the community. A Fellow (FDAA) is a high profile and proactive leader who uses high-level nutrition and dietetic skills and influence to significantly enhance the health of the community. A Fellow is recognised as an expert nationally and internationally and has clearly made an outstanding contribution to nutrition and dietetics. The Fellow credential is considered an honour by the Association. Associate Membership recognises persons with nutrition qualifications without dietetic qualifications. Persons with the level and depth of nutrition education consistent with an entry-level dietitian are recognised, as are persons with postgraduate research qualifications in nutrition sciences and persons from closely related fields who have contributed to the nutrition community in Australia. 4 Section 1 DAA s role in dietetic education

7 The Accredited Nutritionist (AN) credential identifies tertiary qualified nutrition professionals that have the expertise to provide a range of nutrition services including tertiary education services related to nutrition; and community and public health nutrition; but excluding individual dietary counselling, medical nutrition therapy and group dietary therapy. The credentialing system of DAA identifies nutrition and dietetic professionals that meet DAA s standards. It offers real protection to those seeking the highest quality nutrition and dietetic services through compulsory continuing professional development and a complaints and disciplinary process. DAA is the national authority responsible for the assessment and recognition of overseas dietetic qualifications. Information on these processes can be found at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Recognition of dietetic qualifications. 1.3 DAA s philosophy of continuous quality improvement Diversity in dietetic practice is now the norm in the dietetic profession. Data from DAA membership statistics confirms the trend for dietitians to be engaged in many aspects of the food and nutrition industry. While the hospital sector remains the single largest employer, this figure as a percentage of all employment continues to decrease. In recognition of this, DAA is actively seeking novices who are prepared in ways that capitalise on the variety of opportunities that now exist in the Australian food and nutrition industry. Dietetic education in Australia is generalist: its combination of skills is such that it prepares novices for careers in a variety of settings. Some dietitians will be attracted to careers that require other skills in combination with those traditionally taught. Fundamental skills are taught within an evidence-based paradigm to ensure all graduates meet and maintain core competency standards in all areas of dietetics, nutrition communication and advocacy, management and research, which can then be expanded with continuing professional education and work experience. For entry-level education, DAA supports diversity in teaching approaches and differences in emphases within dietetic education programs, while maintaining an essential common core of elements. DAA considers that such an approach best suits the dynamic health environment and permits choice for potential students. DAA expects that schools will evaluate their approaches and recognise their responsibilities to produce graduate dietitians who are competent for independent practice and responsive to the evolving health and nutrition needs of the community. DAA seeks to engage in active dialogue with universities to ensure that competency standards are maintained. It is important that education and professional development programs will ensure that the profession will flourish as its members successfully compete for a wide range of positions related to their main purpose. It is essential that the profession develops as a spectrum of professionals with a common core of educational content and a broad common vocational purpose. 1.4 DAA s role in education programs DAA has defined national competency standards for entry-level dietitians as prerequisites for membership, and accredits programs that provide a broad and sound foundation in nutrition and dietetics (see Section 2). DAA reviews the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians on an ongoing basis to ensure continued relevance to the profession and community. DAA provides ongoing commitment to accreditation and to working with universities to ensure continued quality improvement in all dietetic programs. DAA supports universities in developing their strengths to complement the graduates achievement of the competency standards for entry-level dietetics. DAA communicates with universities to keep them abreast of any developments in competency standards. DAA provides appropriate feedback to universities where the accreditation requirements are not met or are at risk and withdraws accreditation if agreement for change cannot be reached. Section 1 DAA s role in dietetic education 5

8 Section 2 National Competency Standards for Entry- Level Dietitians in Australia 2.1 What are the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians? These are statements that describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for successful performance as a dietitian in Australia. The competency standards are set at the level of acceptable performance for an entry-level dietitian. The National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians are made up of nine units of competency (see table below). Units 1, 7, 8 and 9 are foundation units of competency, outlining critical knowledge base, scientific approach and professional attitude respectively, which may be common to many professions. Units 2 and 3 are core units of competency unique to dietitians, relating mostly to dietetic skills. Units 4, 5 and 6 are the three critical practice domains defined in entry-level practice individual case management, community and public health nutrition and food service management. To be assessed as competent, new graduates must meet the requirements of all nine units of competency. It is the university s responsibility to demonstrate that students graduating from their programs can meet the competency standards. The range of variables statements describe how these competency standards might be demonstrated within a university program. The accreditation process includes a review of topic areas within the dietetic program and a mapping of these topics and relevant assessment against the competency standards. Foundation units of competency Unit 1: Underlying knowledge Demonstrates knowledge sufficient to ensure safe practice Unit 7: Research and evaluation Unit 8: Management and organisation Unit 9: Professionalism, advocacy, innovation and leadership Integrates research and evaluation principles into practice Applies management principles in the provision of nutrition services, programs and products Demonstrates a professional, ethical and entrepreneurial approach, advocating for excellence in nutrition and dietetics Core units of competency Unit 2: Nutrition communication Demonstrates effective and appropriate skills in listening and communicating information, advice, education and professional opinion to individuals, groups and communities Unit 3: Collection, analysis and assessment of nutrition/health data Collects, organises and assesses data relating to the health and nutritional status of individuals, groups and populations Critical practice units of competency Unit 4: Individual case management Unit 5: Community and public health nutrition and advocacy for food supply Unit 6: Food service management Manages client-centred nutrition care for individuals Plans, implements and evaluates nutrition programs with communities or populations as part of a team Manages components of a food service to provide safe and nutritious food The National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians (including Elements and Performance Criteria) can be downloaded from > Universities & recognition of qualifications > National Competency Standards. 2.2 Components of the National Competency Standards Units of competency Units of competency are concisely worded statements describing key areas of competency expressed in outcome terms. They are descriptors of the major work roles of a profession. 7

9 2.2.2 Elements of competency Elements of competency outline what an individual must do to fulfil these work roles Performance criteria Performance criteria are evaluative statements describing the level of performance expected for each element of competency. These aid assessors to determine whether the required level of performance has been reached Range of variables statements and evidence guides The range of variables statements outline the contexts in which performance must occur. These establish boundaries and constraints to be considered during the assessment of performance in relation to practitioners at exit from university. Evidence guides provide further information for assessment including the contexts in which assessment should take place, which units or elements should be assessed concurrently, and what constitutes sufficient evidence of competency. The range of variables statements and evidence guides can be downloaded from > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Manual for accreditation of dietetic programs. 2.3 How the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians are used The competency standards define sound practice of early professionals in dietetics. DAA uses the standards to: accredit university programs assess dietitians not educated in Australia who wish to practise in Australia communicate with other professions and occupations with a nutrition and food work environment develop the Competency Standards for Advanced Practitioner and Fellow of DAA credentials inform international benchmarking. Universities use the standards to: design dietetic education programs assess dietetic students throughout their education. Dietitians use the standards to: determine the need for continuing professional development to meet the requirements for APD status determine minimum performance standards in performance review. 2.4 History of development The first edition of the DAA National Competency Standards was released in Development of the original competency standards was supported by an Australian Government grant during a time of national workforce reform where the Australian government required that all assessments of overseas-educated professionals were competency based. The DAA National Competency Standards have undergone a number of reviews over the past 16 years to ensure that the core activities of entry-level dietitians are represented, the standards are underpinned by research methodology, and the profession is widely consulted. The recent ( ) review has been the most comprehensive with significant enhancements in food service management and community and public health nutrition units of competency and a focus on addressing gaps in mental health and cultural competence. 8 Section 2 National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians in Australia

10 The key improvements in the new competency standards include: incorporation of mental health attributes across all units of competency stronger focus on management skills across all domains of individual case management, community and public health nutrition and food service management greater articulation of food service work roles in-depth description of community and public health nutrition work roles enhanced individual case management unit reflecting important role of dietitians in the diagnosis and management of malnutrition stronger research focus greater focus on cultural competency standards. Section 2 National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians in Australia 9

11 Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation As the accrediting body for nutrition and dietetic programs in Australia, DAA develops, maintains and reviews standards for nutrition and dietetic education and accredits programs against a range of criteria. 3.1 Planning for course development Program planning is complex and ongoing. DAA expects that all universities considering new dietetic programs will undertake a comprehensive needs assessment and consult with relevant stakeholders as part of the planning of a program. Universities may wish to engage a consultant in an advisory role throughout these processes to assist programs in meeting the required standards. DAA encourages the university to discuss plans for new programs with the Accreditation Manager as early as possible in the planning process. Time lines for accreditation are included in Section 4. In particular, Universities must demonstrate sufficient staffing and meet minimum curriculum requirements before students are enrolled in a program. 3.2 Professional representation on course advisory committees DAA requires that all universities developing new dietetic programs will consult with senior members of the dietetics profession for advice on curriculum planning, workforce issues and professional placements. Established courses should continue to engage external partners through among other things, participation in advisory committees. DAA requires evidence that a university has appointed independent Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) external to the university, in an advisory capacity on relevant committees, including program advisory, curriculum planning and student selection committees. APD representatives should have full APD status and experience relevant to the role including experience in student education and/or supervision. Their role is to represent the profession on the committee, providing an understanding of the culture and values of the profession. Not all representatives have to be employed locally, but ideally some will be to provide the university committee with a view of practice in the local area and insight into any specific workforce issues. Representatives should be clearly identified to key stakeholders and be available to receive feedback on the program and communicate this to the university. The inclusion of a number of dietitians employed in a variety of work settings is encouraged on advisory committees. External or other advisory committees should meet at least every twelve months but may be particularly more active as a program is commencing or when changes are occurring within a program. Individuals should be appointed via a transparent selection process. Dietitians may be appointed based on their expertise in a particular area of practice, including academic and curriculum planning experience. Other expert representatives, such as education experts who are not dietitians should also be considered, particularly on curriculum committees. The university can arrange for advertising of committee positions in the weekly s sent to all DAA members. 3.3 Staffing DAA requires that each university employ a minimum of four dietitians (FTE) who hold APD credentials, at least one of whom should be a Level D or above. Each of these dietitians should perform the majority of their teaching to nutrition and dietetic students and/or offer significant research direction and supervision for students and the department. DAA expects that of the minimum four FTE APDs, there will be a staff member appointed to a leadership role in each of the three dietetic domains (individual case management, food service management, community and public health nutrition). DAA expects that of the four FTE APDs, there is at least one staff member (most likely the Level D or above) with significant research experience who is in a position to lead the department s research development, including supervision of PhD students. DAA expects that all teaching staff, including guest lecturers, can demonstrate currency of practice in their teaching area. 3.4 Course management and evaluation Achievement of intended program outcomes needs to be validated through internal and external evaluation. Information that must be provided in relation to program evaluation includes data from course experience questionnaires; retention and attrition rates; student evaluations of teaching and learning; staff student ratios and numbers of socio-economically disadvantaged students. Presentation of this data should include the outcomes of quality improvement processes enacted to improve results. DAA strongly encourages 11

12 benchmarking of the information gained against national averages and external partners (e.g. other universities offering similar programs), to inform progress and to measure and improve course quality. Innovation related to external benchmarking is strongly encouraged. Inclusion of data presented for university or internal accreditations is therefore of value where available. 3.5 Curriculum Biosciences Fifty per cent of each of the first and second years of undergraduate dietetic programs must be composed of bioscience, chemistry, physiology and biochemistry, including a minimum 15% of a full-year load each of biochemistry and physiology. This is usually at least two biochemistry subjects at second year level where first year chemistry is a pre-requisite of these subjects and two physiology subjects also at second year level. Some of these programs may be at higher levels within the program. This is consistent with the DAA philosophy that dietitians are scientists with a special focus on nutrition and dietetics. The prerequisites for entry into postgraduate dietetic programs must ensure that the bioscience requirements outlined above have been met in the student s undergraduate degree Dietetics The basis of an entry-level dietetic program is to provide learning experiences that result in the proficiency required to practise nutrition and dietetics to the national competency standards set by DAA. Program activities provide the process by which program inputs are transformed into outcomes. The curriculum will vary with the institutional environment, anticipated student intake, type and goals of the program, and intended program outcomes. However, universities must be able to demonstrate that the dietetics curriculum includes the necessary core fields of study, as outlined in Section 5, for graduates to be able to demonstrate competency in the key areas of dietetic practice as well as demonstrate a range of professional skills, personal attitudes and values. The following documents are available at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > National Competency Standards. Where possible, the standards have been incorporated into the provisional accreditation report (see Section 4.5) to facilitate its use by a university: National Competency Standards (NCS) for Entry-Level Dietitians (units, elements and performance criteria) Range of variables statements and evidence guides for standards DAA requires that university assessment requirements are designed to assess that students meet the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians. The final assessment of competence to enter the profession should occur in the final year of a program. The final assessment of competence must be undertaken by an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). 3.6 Clinical Placement program Experience in an employment setting is a recognised element of the development of professional competency. Therefore, the university s clinical placement program is the key component of a dietetic program and builds on the theory taught in the academic program. Review sessions and tutorials during the professional practice program should link theory and application. Students can achieve competency in a variety of settings and innovation is encouraged. However, placement activities need to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate competence in the curriculum s core activities. Some variety in the workplace or simulated environment is encouraged for the different placements Timing of the clinical placement program While components of competence can be assessed in earlier years, final competence to enter the profession must occur in the final year of an undergraduate or postgraduate program Duration of the clinical placement program The program must include the minimum requirements outlined below, totalling a minimum of 20 weeks (or 100 days) Individual case management Ten to twelve weeks full-time (or equivalent, with a minimum of ten weeks) is essential to develop the skills required to meet the competency standards for safe practice in managing nutrition care of individuals. At least four weeks of this period should be undertaken in a clinical setting in a hospital where at least two full-time equivalent dietitians are employed. Placements within private practice and clinics not part of the public health system may also be undertaken provided they meet the supervisory and assessment requirements. 12 Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation

13 In selecting these placements, universities need to ensure that students will have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of cases to enable consistent and safe practice in both an acute and ambulatory setting Community and public health nutrition and advocacy for food supply Four to six weeks full-time (or equivalent, with a minimum of four weeks) is essential to develop the skills required to meet the competency standards in community and public health nutrition, including program planning, implementation and evaluation. Locations for placements may vary, but include nutrition units in community health centres, non-government organisations, government departments, and the food industry. The university will need to demonstrate how the community/public health nutrition competency standards can be met for non-traditional placements Food service management Four to six weeks full-time (or equivalent, with a minimum of four weeks) is essential to develop the skills required to meet the competency standards in food service management (FSM). At least two of the four weeks should be related to the provision of food services in a food service institution where clients are nutritionally dependent. Examples of food service institutions include public and private in-patient settings and aged care facilities, corrective services facilities, childcare centres, delivered meals services and respite programs. The university will need to ensure that the required four weeks is dedicated to food service management. If a FSM placement is integrated with other clinical placements outlined above, additional time must be allocated to meet FSM entry-level competency standards Elective settings There is an opportunity for remaining or additional weeks to be spent in any of the above three areas or in an unspecified area such as industry or private practice (after other minimum requirements). The choice of setting may be determined by individual interest or competency-based skills development needs Structure of placements Days of experience and the spread of time of clinical placement both contribute to the development of professional skills. Tutorial days directly relevant to the practice placement may be included in the practice weeks. Experience should be sequenced in a number of ways. For example, the three major steps in individual case management, community/public health nutrition program management and food service management are: 1. Observe experienced practitioners 2. Participate in case management, program planning and food service management under experienced practitioners 3. Complete independent practice with reporting to and feedback from the supervisor Student supervision on placement DAA recognises the need to develop a flexible placement program that is sustainable in the local context and does not mandate the type of supervision model employed. DAA encourages innovations in teaching and supervision in the placement setting (e.g. peer assisted, problem-based learning, group and self-directed learning experiences). DAA requires that final assessment of competence is done on an individual basis. Supervision of the clinical placement program in all work contexts must be the responsibility of an experienced APD (primary supervisor). DAA expects the university to ensure that all primary placement supervisors have the appropriate teaching expertise and experience to take responsibility for the assessment and verification of entry-level competency and that these details are recorded. DAA expects the university to provide all placement supervisors with adequate training and support throughout the placement period. Primary supervisors are responsible for setting of standards, learning outcomes and verifying final assessment of competence of students. A primary supervisor must be an APD and have at least two years experience in the relevant practice context. Academic placement coordinators, who must be APDs, may take the role of primary supervisor to support less experienced on-site supervisors who provide the day-to-day supervision. The use of secondary supervisors who are not APDs is acceptable to DAA. They provide expertise and supervision in their particular work setting (e.g. in food service or community health placements) or may be dietitians with less experience who are responsible for particular wards or services in the placement setting. Secondary supervisors must liaise with the primary supervisor to ensure appropriate learning opportunities are provided but they are not required to set standards or learning outcomes. The secondary supervisor contributes to assessment but does not take primary responsibility for assessment and verification of competency. Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation 13

14 Examples of secondary supervisors: Individual case management a less experienced dietitian who may or may not be an APD and works in the setting Food service placement a food service manager, who may or may not be a dietitian and who may or may not be an APD Community/public health placement public health nutritionist, who may or may not be a dietitian and who may not be an APD Student assessment during clinical placement program Assessment of students should be competency based and conducted at regular intervals. The final assessment of competence of students to enter the profession must occur in the final year of the program. Documented assessment procedures for professional practice must be developed collaboratively between the university educator/s and placement educators/supervisors, and the final decision on student competence must involve consultation between both parties. DAA requires that the final determination of entry-level competency, as demonstrated during the practical placement, is completed by an APD Access to resources on placements DAA expects that the university will ensure that the students in the clinical placement program have access to adequate resources (e.g. IT, library, work area) and have opportunities to engage with the dietetic staff, including attendance at staff meetings, in-services etc Offshore placements Where universities offer offshore placements, the following requirements apply: 1. The placement sites must provide an environment equivalent to Australian sites, in consideration of the following issues: case mix sites should reflect in general the typical case mix found in the Australian health setting technology sites should provide access to technologies found commonly in the Australian health setting protocols of medical and dietetic practice sites should reflect protocols in the Australian health care system, including the multidisciplinary approach, evidenced-based practice and clarity of role of the allied health practitioner and, where relevant, community/public health nutrition practice. 2. Assessment of final competency must be in English. 3. A significant proportion of the supervision must be undertaken by Australian dietetic graduates or by dietitians who have had work experience in the Australian health care system or equivalent. 4. There is ongoing involvement of senior academics from the university in the training of supervisors and the final assessment of competency must be verified by a dietitian holding the APD credential. 5. Students have the capacity to educate and counsel clients effectively in relation to the Australian food supply and cultural context and be assessed in Australia on this. 6. Students have adequate access to library and other information resources while on placement. 14 Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation

15 3.7 International students transferring into dietetic programs If students enter dietetic programs based on previous study in countries other than Australia for postgraduate programs, or into any year other than first year of an undergraduate program, DAA uses advice from Australia Education International (AEI) to inform decisions on equivalency. AEI is the Australian Government body that provides current advice on the equivalency of international tertiary study programs to Australian university programs. Acceptance of students who do not meet standards equivalent to the Australian university students into dietetic programs may result in withdrawal of accreditation status for the university program. The university must inform DAA of the various routes of entry into dietetic programs as part of the accreditation process. 3.8 University facilities and resources The level and quality of physical resources available to the staff and students of a program are a key component of the overall quality of a program. The key physical resource requirements for dietetic education programs are: Teaching areas that allow for adequate classroom instruction A range of teaching resources used for classroom instruction (e.g. audio visual facilities) Library facilities available to staff and students. Key nutrition texts, e-journals and databases must be available under the following knowledge areas: human nutrition food habits and behaviour food science food service communication nutrition education organisation and management public health/health promotion. IT facilities that provide access to terminals and dietary analysis, statistics and word processing software Facilities for food skills development and delivery of food service management training Laboratory facilities. 3.9 Wording on dietetic course material and websites DAA recognises that universities (who are seeking accreditation or re-accreditation) may wish to make statements regarding credentialing of graduates and/or the accreditation status of their dietetic program. The following standard wording should be used on webpages or course materials to ensure consistency and reflect an accurate understanding of the accreditation process. All university programs starting a dietetics program should contact DAA as soon as possible to check that any program information on university webpages is accurate. Thereafter DAA will audit university webpages annually to ensure compliance to this standard Accreditation status of a dietetic program. Below are suggestions to suit all stages of the accreditation process. For programs that are accredited: This program is currently accredited (or currently provisionally accredited) by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). A graduate of this program is eligible to become a DAA member with dietetic qualifications, and to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Program. The University is required to maintain a current accreditation status as outlined in the DAA accreditation process which is outlined at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Manual for accreditation of dietetic programs. For programs seeking accreditation who have submitted their accreditation report: The University has commenced the accreditation process with the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), including submission of an accreditation review report to DAA. A graduate of an accredited program is eligible to become a DAA member with dietetic qualifications, and to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Program. The University s aim is to achieve accreditation prior to graduation of the first cohort of students. Full details of the stages in the DAA accreditation process are available at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Manual for accreditation of dietetic programs. All enquiries regarding the progress of the program s accreditation review should be directed to the University s Dietetic Program Coordinator. For programs seeking accreditation who have not submitted their accreditation report: Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation 15

16 The University has sought advice from the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) regarding the processes for the accreditation of the dietetic program. A graduate of an accredited program is eligible to become a DAA member with dietetic qualifications, and to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Program. The University is planning to submit an accreditation review report within the required timelines. The University s aim is to achieve accreditation prior to graduation of the first cohort of students. All inquiries regarding the progress of the program s accreditation review should be directed to the University s Dietetic Program Coordinator Credentialing or registration requirements A number of government departments use wording supplied by DAA regarding credentialing or registration requirements for the profession of dietitian on various webpages. Universities are therefore encouraged to use this wording wherever possible for uniformity. A graduate of an accredited program is eligible to become a Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) member with dietetic qualifications, and to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Program APDs are required to undertake prescribed levels of professional development each year and comply with the DAA Code of Professional Conduct and Statement of Ethical Practice. Eligibility for APD status, current APD status or eligibility for DAA membership with dietetic qualifications is a prerequisite of many dietetic positions in Australia and APD status is required for a Medicare or Department of Veterans Affairs provider number and for provider status with many private health insurers Use of DAA or APD logos Universities delivering accredited dietetic programs may wish to feature the DAA or APD logos on their websites or course materials once provisional accreditation has been awarded. Any university wishing to do so will need to enter into an agreement with DAA. The ARJS Administrator should be contacted for a copy of this agreement. DAA will need to review and approve any material the DAA or APD logo is to be used on, prior to distribution. 16 Section 3 Requirements for dietetic programs seeking accreditation

17 Section 4 Accreditation process Accreditation of dietetic programs is necessary to ensure that the standards established by the profession are achieved and maintained by dietetic education programs. The accreditation process should benefit both parties; that is, the university offering the program and the dietetic profession. A high standard of education is assured by accreditation, and this process of quality assurance provides an external validation of program objectives. DAA has a commitment to working collaboratively with universities engaged in the education of dietitians, to continue to evaluate programs that commit to mutually agreed competency standards for dietitians for entry-level practice. Regular accreditation ensures that the commitment has been translated into practice. It is an opportunity for DAA and universities to communicate openly on issues of dietetic education. Accreditation status Full accreditation, offered for a maximum of five years, indicates that the program complies with the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Dietitians. Provisional accreditation, offered for a maximum of two years from the time a program graduates its first cohort of students, indicates that, although it is not yet possible to evaluate graduate outcomes, the university is offering a program that meets DAA theoretical requirements for accreditation. Provisional accreditation may also be used to describe an ongoing program, which has conditions set for the continuing accreditation of the program. Failure to meet conditions may result in withdrawal of accreditation, while satisfactory fulfilment of conditions would usually result in reinstatement of full accreditation status. Agreement - By submitting an application for accreditation, the university enters into an accreditation agreement to participate and engage with DAA in the accreditation process. This agreement gives both parties responsibilities for completing the various stages of the accreditation process in a timely manner. Once the process is initiated in writing by the university, all time lines for accreditation and requests for documentation will be provided in writing to the university by DAA. Submission deadlines - Pre-accreditation reports must be submitted to DAA at least 12 months prior to enrolment of the first cohort of students enrolling in the program. Demonstration of staffing approvals and appointments, and suitable curriculum planning demonstrates commitment of the university to engage in the accreditation process and indicates to DAA the viability of the program. Provisional accreditation reports must be submitted to DAA no later than 18 months before the first cohort of students are due to complete their studies. Other reports (transfer from provisional to full accreditation or re-accreditation) are required no later than 12 months before the accreditation period expires. Accreditation reviews can only be completed by DAA in the minimum period if all the required evidence is submitted with the university s accreditation report and no major issues are identified in the review process. DAA does not accept any responsibility if dietetic programs fail to achieve accreditation prior to the first cohort of students graduating or before the expiration of a current accreditation period if the time lines and criteria for accreditation provided by DAA are not met by the university. Minimum periods and evidence requirements are clearly communicated at the beginning of the accreditation process to facilitate a timely outcome. A visual representation of the steps in a pre-accreditation review, a provisional accreditation review, a transfer to full accreditation review and a re-accreditation review are represented in flow charts at the end of this section. 17

18 4.1 Key DAA organisational groups involved in the accreditation process The following DAA groups are involved in the accreditation process. DAA Board The DAA Board comprises the President, Vice President and Directors. The Board manages the business of the Association. The DAA Board makes the final decision regarding the accreditation of dietetic programs and policy issues related to dietetic education and accreditation. The DAA Board approved policies relating to the accreditation of dietetic programs and the education of dietetic students are available at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Accreditation policies. Australian Dietetics Council (ADC) The ADC is responsible for providing high-level advice to the DAA Board on accreditation issues. The Council appoints accreditation review teams from a pool of reviewers (as per the University Accreditation Review Team terms of reference available online at > Universities & recognition of qualifications > Accreditation of dietetic programs > Accreditation policies), oversees all accreditation reviews and makes recommendations to the Board regarding the accreditation status of university dietetic programs. Accreditation Review Team The review team is responsible for undertaking all the phases of the review, including the review of the clinical placement content of the dietetic program, under the direction of the review team chair. The review team reports on the progress of the review to the ADC at regular intervals. Information about the ADC is available at > About DAA > Australian Dietetics Council. DAA National Office The Accreditation, Recognition and Journal Services (ARJS) Unit is responsible for accreditation services at DAA National Office. The Accreditation Manager manages the accreditation process and a representative from the ARJS unit (usually the Executive Manager ARJS and/or Accreditation Manager) participates in all reviews. The Accreditation Manager is the first point of contact for universities at all stages of the accreditation process. 18 Section 4 Accreditation process

19 4.2 Stages of the accreditation process There are six significant stages in the accreditation review process from the development of a new program requiring provisional accreditation to the ongoing accreditation of an established program. In addition to the maximum accreditation periods available, DAA may grant shorter periods of accreditation or may accredit programs subject to specific conditions being met by the university. Stage Action Timing Stage 1 Indication of interest in developing new dietetic program Stage 2 Program proposal/ pre-accreditation (Figure 1) University formally advises DAA in writing of its interest in developing a new dietetics program. DAA refers university to the Manual for accreditation of dietetic education programs. DAA recommends that the university undertake a needs assessment and conducts stakeholder consultations etc with the support of an experienced dietetic educator before developing a proposal for a new dietetics program. University appoints representatives to the program advisory committee. Pre-accreditation approval must be sought before students are enrolled into a new dietetic program. The university will provide DAA with information on: resources, including staffing and library curriculum structure and content projected enrolments clinical placement program planning. ADC reviews the documents and liaises with the university on requirements to engage further in the accreditation process. Pre-accreditation approval indicates that the program has demonstrated requirements to proceed to a provisional accreditation application. It will only be granted if all requirements are completed satisfactorily (as outlined in the pre-accreditation template). DAA strongly advises that students are not enrolled prior to this approval. University submits program proposal for university approval. The university is encouraged to approach DAA at an early stage of development of concepts before developing a proposal for university approval. The pre-accreditation report using the DAA template (Section 4.5) must be submitted to DAA at least 12 months before the first cohort of students are enrolled. The draft university program proposal document may be useful to provide this information. The university is encouraged to meet with DAA before the formal submission of the program proposal for university approval. Section 4 Accreditation process 19

20 Stage (cont.) Action (cont.) Timing (cont.) Stage 3 Provisional accreditation (Figure 2) Provisional accreditation should be sought once the university has established a new program and accepted enrolments. To enable graduates to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian program, the dietetic program must satisfactorily meet all accreditation requirements before the first cohort graduate. A university may benefit from engaging a professional consultant, with expertise in dietetic education and preferably experience in accreditation processes, to complete the provisional accreditation report using the DAA template. Once the Accreditation Review Team reviews the provisional accreditation report and is satisfied with the program documentation, the new dietetic program/s will be listed on the DAA website as seeking provisional accreditation. Following this listing, the university is able to include the statement applied for provisional DAA accreditation on their website and in all relevant course materials. Accreditation will only be granted if all phases of the review process are completed satisfactorily (as outlined in Section 4.3) Failure to meet all accreditation requirements may result in non accreditation of the program. The provisional accreditation report using the DAA template (see Section 4.5) must be submitted to DAA at least 18 months before first cohort of students are due to graduate. Stage 4 Full accreditation (Figure 2) Full accreditation should be sought when the first graduates of a provisionally accredited program have been in the work force for approximately 12 months. To enable subsequent graduates to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian program, the dietetic program must satisfactorily meet all accreditation requirements before the provisional accreditation period expires. Accreditation will only be granted if all phases of the review process are completed satisfactorily (as outlined in Section 4.3). Failure to meet all accreditation requirements may result in continuation of provisional accreditation or the withdrawal of accreditation. A full accreditation report using the DAA template (see Section 4.5) must be submitted to DAA at least 12 months before the provisional accreditation period expires. 20 Section 4 Accreditation process

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