Last year we secured significant funding from Health Education England to drive forward our education and professional workforce agenda. This funding was used for our Dietetic Workforce Development Programme which saw us undertake 19 projects with the aim to improve the following areas:
By simulating demand for dietetics to be seen as an exciting and rewarding career option and to develop the capacity of the future supply by developing new courses and innovative Practice-based Learning (placement) opportunities.
Working to support different entry routes into AHP roles and explore potential alternative routes such as apprenticeship and preceptorship.
Ensuring that AHPs are effectively deployed in a way that recognises the needs of the system, population and supporting staff. Guaranteeing support for the dietetic workforce throughout their career, advanced practice and new roles including medicine management, digital technology and leadership. Along with this we want to ensure the retention of the dietetic workforce making the NHS the best place to work.
Working to modernise and reform the education and training of dietitians in line with the NHS Long Term Plan. We reviewed out Future Dietitian report to ensure that the profession remains relevant in a rapidly changing world and that dietitians and the wider workforce remain fit for the future. To achieve this, we surveyed the workforce and produced a report with further recommendations to improve our practice and education workstreams.
We also worked to develop resources at Advanced Practice level in order to support career progression at this level. From this project, a number of resources were produced, including: sample job plans and business cases, Advanced Practice video and text case studies, updated webpages and more.
Alongside this we worked to create a Primary Care network and common data set to inform
workforce planning. As part of this project, we surveyed the workforce about the First Contact Practitioner services, developed a communications plan, updated our Guide for General Practice, as well as updating our webpages and producing new case studies.
In order to build a uni-professional and multi professional narrative about the impact of the 21st century dietitian we undertook a scoping exercise on the potential use of digital innovation within dietetic practice using the steps of the Model and Process. From this we held a small survey to understand the current needs and knowledge of the dietetic workforce and hosted a webinar with over 300 attendees. From this work we produced a training package for pilot sites and a final report on our findings. Going forwards, we will investigate the potential for a standardised language guidance document and pilot an electronic template and digital strategy.
As part of our aim to support the future supply of the dietetic workforce, we conducted a review of opportunities for Practice-based Learning (placement) to increase capacity, in which we produced a Pre-registration Dietetic Practicebased Learning Guidance document that identifies opportunities and innovative approaches to Practice-based Learning, providing information to share good practice and maximised the potential for increasing the number of Practice-based Learning opportunities.
Alongside this project we also developed a communication campaign that promotes innovative Practice-based Learning. For this project we produced new Practice-based Learning branding, an ongoing communications campaign, as well as multiple new Practice-based Learning resources for learners (students) and educators and new website content. This project will be ongoing as we update our web content and produce new relevant resources.
To ensure we are working with the BDA membership to develop resources that support innovative thinking and support clinical educators, we produced an internal report on the feasibility of a Dietetic Common Assessment Tool as there is currently a plethora of different assessment tools being used which is inefficient and impeded Practice-based Learning expansion. This report received positive internal feedback and as a result we will be prioritising the development of a Common Assessment Tool going forwards.
We’ve also worked hard to ensure that we driving improvements in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within pre-registration education and careers. Whilst the BDA is undertaking a bigger piece of work on EDI our focus on pre-registration education and careers saw us produce articles, an new EDI webpage and hosted a workshop with over 26 HEI leads in attendance.
The BDA is supporting graduates and ensuring they have access to NHS Band 5 job offers, to help support this we developed a promotional campaign in which we highlighted the dietetic roles across health and social care in the NHS across the UK. We developed new resources including written and video case studies to sit on a new webpage that hosts examples of the different dietetic roles available in the NHS to new graduates, making sure that working in the NHS is attractive and seen as a rewarding career.
To go alongside supporting early dietetic careers, we undertook a project in which we aided the development of guidance and resources to enhance early careers and support the dietetic profession. In order to achieve this, we reviewed our already existing preceptorship guidance and surveyed the BDA membership in order to understand how well these tools are being embedded into practice and reviewed its implementation. Our findings have allowed us to identify where we need to improve and provided further work initiatives.
We’ve also developed a number of exemplar early dietetic careers and best practice case studies as part of a suite of resources for the dietetic workforce and have ensure that we highlight the diversity of our workforce. Our case studies highlight the value of preceptorship and preceptors and what the programme brings to newly qualified dietitians.
Along with ensuring we are supporting those newly qualified within the workforce, we have worked to ensure that we are also supporting those who wish to return to practice. In order to support those interested in or in the process of returning to practice, we have updated our webpage, developed case studies and hosted webinars for those wanting to return as well as providing relevant information for managers who may be employing returnees.
As well as supporting the above areas of the dietetic workforce we also wanted to ensure that we were supporting internationally trained staff. As part of this project, we developed a new webpage for international recruits full of information about working in the UK. This new webpage also provides management with the information they need in order to support those working in the UK from overseas.
The BDA is committed to supporting the entire dietetic workforce, including our dietetic support workforce. In order to achieve this, we undertook an extensive project aimed specifically for the dietetic support workforce. We developed a new visual identity for our support workforce, as well as an online hub full of resources and information specific to our Associate Members, as well as Dietetics Today articles. We’ve also reviewed current job titles, produced FAQs and are currently developing a Support Workforce Professional Development Framework.
As dietetic practice continues to grow and develop, more posts evolve in mental health. As part of our programme, we worked to increase the profile of the role of dietitians in mental health services to demonstrate innovation and the impact of new ways of working. To achieve this, the BDA Mental Health Specialist Group hosted a week of webinars for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, as well as case studies. Going forwards there will be a development of a preceptorship programme for those working in mental health.
Learn more about the work that we have done as part of our Dietetic Workforce Development Programme here.