Practice education provides opportunities for staff development and CPD within the dietetic department, in addition to, allowing the current working population to influence the skills and numbers of future colleagues. Therefore, all student supervisors should take an active role from participation to development of practice education programmes.
To meet Practice Education needs, it is required that there will be strong collaboration between the higher education institutions and service providers, both within and outside the NHS.
The BDA has a role to play from a UK perspective in raising the profile of dietetics and student dietitians within and beyond NHS environments. Equally, there is a need for dietetic managers / recruiters of dietitians within the NHS to recognise the added value to the service in students having undertaken a broad range of placements. It is important that as a profession, dietitians have faith in the abilities and employability of those graduates who bring a wealth of transferable skills and experiences.
Alternative models of practice education delivery should be trialled and findings disseminated across the profession. Examples of such activity might include peer learning models, virtual learning environments and inter-professional learning opportunities.
Practice education models should prepare the dietetic student body for the future requirements of the profession, with strong evaluation of impending workforce demands and education tailored to meet career opportunities and delivery needs, including acute and community NHS settings, public health and social care. In addition, private sector opportunities should be explored