Supervised practice program guided by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics standards improves potential employability of nutrition/dietetics graduates: perspective of employers and preceptors.
Al-Jayyousi, Ghadir Fakhri
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This study investigated employers' perspectives on the impact of a supervised practice program (SPP), guided by international accreditation standards on the skill development and potential employability of dietetics students. This study was based on qualitative research. Fifteen potential employers, who also served as SPP preceptors, participated in this study. Participants were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire. All interviews were conducted face-to-face by a trained interviewer. Participates were invited to discuss their own experiences in the current SPP, their perceptions of the impact of SPP on skills and attributes of graduates, and their overall ideas of how SPP may contribute to the employability of graduates. This study found that the SPP program guided by international accreditation standards shaped the duties and responsibilities of preceptors/supervisors and promoted a beneficial relationship between preceptors and SPP students. The benefits to graduates include bridging the gap between classroom didactic knowledge and practice; improving workplace self-confidence; developing competencies such as critical-thinking, communication, interviewing, and counselling skills in various multidisciplinary and multicultural settings. In addition, the preceptors suggested that accreditation-guided SPP contributes to the employability of graduates. Also, they opined that it reduced the need for orientation and shortened the probation time because students were familiar with the work environment and work flow. This lead to the improved preparedness for work. SPP based on set of competencies guided by international accreditation standards provides an up-to-date curriculum, improves the quality of the nutrition and dietetics services, and increases the potential employability of the graduates.