Nutrition and dietetics professionals are recognised experts in human nutrition science and are best placed to improve the nutrition of individuals and populations. Nutrition is a relatively new and poorly understood profession in Ireland. While dietitians deal with clinical populations and are thus covered by the newly formed body CORU, registered nutritionists deal with healthy individuals and populations and thus have no legal requirement for professional accreditation, which has led to confusion as to their level of competence and scope of practice. The NutriPD initiative seeks to develop and grow professional competence in Nutrition in Ireland, through the implementation of competency-based assessment education in Higher Education institutions and the creation of a network of nutritionists to highlight issues facing the profession and advocate for protection of the title. Student success in higher education is about providing students with opportunities to reach their full potential, become professionally competent and gain confidence in their abilities. Therefore, it is imperative to gain an understanding of the needs of Nutrition students and to develop mechanisms to improve the education system to meet their needs for professional competence.
This initiative has 3 key elements:
1. To understand how the identity of a Nutritionist is formed during their years in education and transition into early career graduates.
2. To assess where Nutrition graduates have gained employment, and how employers perceive their readiness to enter the workforce.
3. Validation of the previously developed framework for the development of competency-based assessment (SATLE 2019).