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MedEdPORTAL. 2018 Aug 17;14:10742. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10742.

An Interprofessional Approach to Teaching Nutrition Counseling to Medical Students.

Author information

1
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
2
Resident, Department of Medicine, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
3
Extension Educator, Department of Allied Health Sciences Dietetics Program, University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.
4
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Abstract

Introduction:

Many physicians do not feel competent providing nutritional counseling to patients. A minimum of 25 hours dedicated to nutrition is recommended in preclinical years, but only 40% of U.S. medical schools achieve this goal. Nutrition counseling is best done when physicians work collaboratively with registered dietitians (RDs). We sought to introduce this interprofessional approach in our preclinical curriculum.

Methods:

In our first-year doctoring course, students viewed a nutrition lecture from a physician and RD. Teams of two to three medical students and one dietetics student were formed. The medical students took a history and performed nutrition counseling on the dietetics student role-playing a patient. The RD student provided feedback and reviewed clinical questions pertaining to the nutrition case. Medical students presented answers to their assigned case to the whole group. Medical students completed pre-/postsurveys assessing satisfaction and perceived confidence with nutrition counseling and were formally assessed using a standardized patient. The scores were compared to students from the year before who received the lecture but not the RD student activity.

Results:

Eighty-one medical students participated. After the activity, there was an increase in confidence with nutrition counseling (p < .001), and 74% found working with dietetics students to be helpful or extremely helpful. The nutrition counseling mean score increased from 68% (historical control, n = 76) to 84% (n = 75; p < .001) on the standardized patient assessment.

Discussion:

This format is an effective method of teaching nutrition counseling and promoting interprofessional behavior among rising physicians and RDs.

KEYWORDS:

Dietetics Students; Interprofessional Curriculum; Nutrition; Nutrition Counseling; Preclinical Medical Students; Standardized Patients

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