|The Indian Dietetic Association strives to promote, encourage and improve the status of dietitians, to maintain and increase their professional knowledge, ability and competency, and to regulate standards of training and practice of dietitians.
To this end, the Registration Board (commonly referred to as ‘RD Board’) of the Indian Dietetic Association, the official national body of dietitians in India, plans to revamp the training program and credentialing process for Registered Dietitians in the country. Its aim is to make dietetic internship uniform throughout India, to train the interns in all the skills necessary including soft skills and to ensure that entry level competency is achieved at the end of the internship.
The RD Board will hold one day ‘Train-the-Trainer’ Workshops, free of cost, at three centers in India shortly, to introduce the new RD internship format and regulations to all senior dietitians in the country who conduct internships. These workshops will be held in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai to enable senior dietitians from all parts of the country to use this facility.
A Competency Booklet has been formulated as a framework for the internship. Its use will be explained to workshop participants and feedback on all aspects will be solicited, before finalizing the internship program.
The competencies to be developed and completed during this time fall under the categories of Clinical Dietetics (Clinical nutrition and dietetics, communication, education, management skills in clinical dietetics), Food Service (The menu system, personnel management, food supply, procurement and control, food production, food service distribution, financial management) and Management Skills (Universal management tools, management of the Department). The number and categories of patients for nutrition care during clinical rotations are also specified.
The supervising RD will do well to select the interns carefully, as it helps to make a good start. Suitable education and training, relevant experience, leadership potential, organizational skills, decision making abilities, stress tolerance, an interest in food, maturity, insight, initiative, compassion, communication skills and interpersonal skills are some of the attributes to look for in a future Registered Dietitian.
Armed with the academic preparation and internship work experience, the dietitian should be able to meet the standards set by the RD examination.
Competent dietitians will win respect and acceptance for their profession from other healthcare professionals while making a successful career for themselves. The ultimate aim is to produce Indian dietitians of a calibre that is second to none in the world!
Nirmala Jesudason, MSc, RD (ADA & DC)
Member of RD Board, Indian Dietetic Association