Finding the place for nutrition in healthcare education and practice

Ebiambu Agwara, Kathy Martyn, Elaine Macaninch, Wanja Nyaga, Luke Buckner, Breanna Lepre, Celia Laur, Sumantra Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Malnutrition continues to impact healthcare outcomes, quality of life and costs to healthcare systems. The implementation of nutrition care in healthcare practice may improve health outcomes for patients and the community. This paper describes the iterative development and implementation of nutrition medical education resources for doctors and healthcare professionals in England. These resources are part of the Nutrition Education Policy for Healthcare Practice initiative. Method: Action research methodology was employed to develop and implement nutrition education workshops for medical students and doctors. The workshop was developed iteratively by an interdisciplinary project team, and the content was initially based on the General Medical Council outcomes for graduates. It was evaluated using quantitative evaluation tools and informal qualitative feedback captured from attendees using tools provided by the host organisations and developed by the roadshow team. Results: A total of 6 nutrition education workshops were delivered to 169 participants. This simple educational package demonstrated potential for delivery in different healthcare settings; however, formal feedback was difficult to obtain. Evaluation results indicate that workshops were better received when delivered by doctors known to the participants and included local context and examples. Reported barriers to the workshops included difficulty for participants in finding the time to attend, beliefs that peers gave a low priority to nutrition and uncertainty about professional roles in the delivery of nutrition care. Conclusion: A key outcome of this project was the development of resources for nutrition training of doctors, adapted to local needs. However, relatively low attendance and multiple barriers faced in the delivery of these workshops highlight that there is no ideal ‘place’ for nutrition training in current healthcare teaching. Interprofessional education, through relevant clinical scenarios may increase awareness of the importance of nutrition in healthcare, support the alignment of health professional roles and improve subsequent knowledge and skills.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000692
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health
Early online date23 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 23 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

Data Access Statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

Keywords

  • nutrition
  • diet
  • food

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