Friday, 25 May 2018
Otago staff and postgraduate students are being offered a free nutritional ‘check-up’.
Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition offers Nutrition Warrants of Fitness (WOFs) annually – each year searching for 40 willing staff and students to take part.
Department of Human Nutrition Professional Practice Fellow, Mary Spiers, who organises the WOFs says they provide the Department’s first-year Master of Dietetics students with a ‘real-world’ nutrition consultation experience while also contributing to the wellbeing of University staff and postgraduate students.
“Feedback has consistently indicated that both students and ‘clients’ really value the experience, so each year, at about this time, we put out the call for willing volunteers,” Ms Spiers says.
The Nutrition WOF is a structured nutrition consult undertaken by a fourth-year student dietitian with the support of one of the Department’s Professional Practice Fellows, all of whom are New Zealand-registered dietitians, she explains.
"While role plays and simulations are valuable, a live consult provides a real opportunity for students to demonstrate the communication and professionalism skills that they have acquired as part of their Applied Dietetics paper."
The appointment runs for 60 minutes and includes a 10 minute break part way through where the client is taken back to the waiting room. During this time the student and tutor dietitian discuss the findings of the nutrition assessment and begin to develop a plan tailored to the individual needs of the client. The client is then brought back to the clinic room so that the consult can be continued.
Ms Spiers says being able to conduct an effective assessment is a competency requirement for Dietetic students.
“While role plays and simulations are valuable, a live consult provides a real opportunity for students to demonstrate the communication and professional skills that they have acquired as part of their Applied Dietetics paper. These “live assessments” also help to prepare students for competency assessments with patients and clients during the second year of the master's course when they are placed in a variety of settings around New Zealand.”
Ms Spiers says the assessment includes a review of the client’s nutritional intake in relation to their current health status.
“Often, there are very few changes to recommend and the client is encouraged to continue with their nutritionally adequate intake or supported to work with the student to develop a goal and a couple of strategies to enhance the nutritional adequacy of the food they are eating.”
Want to take part?
Contact the student dietitian clinic
Limit 40 applicants