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Dietetic Preceptor Educational Needs from the Preceptor, Student, and Faculty Perspectives

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Quality dietetic education relies on strong preceptors to encourage, motivate, and teach dietetic students so that they can excel as practitioners. The purpose of this study was to examine the needs of dietetic preceptors, determine how those needs should be met, and suggest who can best address those needs. Grounded theory methodology was used to design this study of preceptor needs. Focus groups and one-on-one interviews were conducted with 22 preceptors, 5 former students, and 4 faculty members of a clinical dietetic training program. Data were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding. The central category/factor that influenced preceptor participation and effectiveness was determined to be lack of time. Preceptors felt they did not have sufficient time to devote to precepting students. Other categories found to be important for successful precepting included student-preceptor orientation, the teaching-learning environment, views of dietetic professionalism, and the responsibilities and rewards of precepting. Based on the themes that emerged with this grounded theory methodology, this study suggests that preceptors should be trained in the following five areas: 1) basic teaching skills, 2) time management strategies, 3) methods for coaching students, 4) adult learning styles, and 5) methods for providing constructive feedback. This training should increase the likelihood that the experience will be both time-efficient and successful for the preceptor, student, and faculty involved. This should improve the effectiveness of preceptors as educators, which should consequently facilitate recruitment and retention of dietetic preceptors.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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