Country – New Zealand
New Zealand Registered Dietitians have been benefiting from a recent focus on Evidence Based Practice (EBP). Dietetics in New Zealand is a relatively small profession (approximately 350 practicing members), and has limited resources to both developing and implementing evidence based practice that could positively impact upon health care resources. The Evidence Based Dietetic subcommittee (formerly the Guidelines Project) aims to empower New Zealand dietitians with skills to enable them to effectively undertake evidence based best practices, to challenge dietitians with innovative practice methods, and to assist in the implementation of evidence based practice. Dietitians NZ has a name in New Zealand for being a front-runner health care profession group in undertaking evidence based practice. However, many dietitians qualified prior to critical appraisal skills, and other skills are required to undertake EBP being taught in university.
Dietitians NZ provides numerous resources to members to help them practice evidence based dietetics. Resources that are available to members include a guidelines database – updated five times a year. The database is a quick source of information for Dietitian NZ members who are seeking evidence based guidance on clinical conditions. Also available to members is a monthly e-newsletter. This “coffee break” style newsletter focuses on sharing information on EBP, education on EBP skills including critical appraisal, and strategies for implementing EBP. In 2010 articles included interviews with Dr Mary Hickson, UK Research Dietitian, NZ Dietitian Angela Lucas (nee Swann) and reprinted the 2010 ICDA article on evidence based dietetic practice by Jayne Thirsk and Debbie MacLellan.
The database and e-newsletters along with copies of critical appraisal tools are hosted on the Dietitians NZ website. This is designed to be a “one stop shop” for Dietitian NZ members to access all they need to know about evidence based practice.
Dietitians NZ conference 2010 in Dunedin played host to the first Evidence Based Dietetic subcommittee workshop on critical appraisal skills. Conference 2011 in Nelson will follow on from this, hosting both basic and advanced skill workshops in critical appraisal skills and implementing evidence based practice.
2011 is set to be a big year for the subcommittee. We will be investigating distance learning opportunities to facilitate all members being able to access education on evidence based practice skills and working with the Dietitians Association of Australia on PEN (Practice based Evidence in Nutrition) collaboration.
Evidence based practice skills are core to much of the Strategic Plan of Dietitians NZ and Dietitians NZ are embracing this opportunity to empower dietitians so that they can use innovative practice to implement EBP.