Practice Trends Survey of ICDA Member Countries
ICDA undertook a survey to collect information about the work settings of Dietitian-Nutritionists in member countries. Nearly 50% of the member countries responded to the survey.
Here are the highlights of the survey findings:
- There has been an increase in the number of Dietitian-Nutritionists working in the member countries in the last five years.
- The greatest increase has been in private practice/business/entrepreneurship (91%), followed by practitioners in public health, and clinical practice in primary care and hospitals ((all > 50%). Food service and home care have also seen an upward trend.
- Focus areas that have seen a tremendous increase are obesity, wellness, chronic diseases (more than 75%), malnutrition, integrative nutrition and policy (between 60% and 70%).
- Funding for education or the scope of practice doesn’t seem to have had an impact on the Dietitian-Nutritionists in many member countries. However, many of the members say that increased need for education and skills by practitioners, and government support (or the lack of it) for nutrition related programs have had an impact on the Dietitian-Nutritionists.
- 75% of the respondents said that Dietitian-Nutritionists in their respective countries are becoming entrepreneurs, which has had a positive impact on practice in majority of the cases. Examples of positive impact are creation of job opportunities, increased recognition, better social media access, etc. Some of the negative outcomes mentioned are weakening of the clinical practice and lack of business management skills.
- Most of the respondents said that the use of social media in the work of Dietitian-Nutritionists has increased in their country with a positive impact. While this change has brought in greater visibility, there’s also a greater amount of misinformation spread through social media by unqualified persons. Usage of social media has improved communication within the fraternity.
- Employment opportunity, politics, competition, market (lay persons) confusion and technology came as top reasons affecting the practice and the profession.
The survey was led by ICDA Board Members, Judith Rodriguez and Carole Middleton.