Annemarie Knight, Claire Palermo, Gabriel Reedy, Kevin Whelan

Teaching and assessment of communication skills in dietetics: a scoping review

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

AbstractBackgroundCommunication is a core element of dietetic practice, and although communication skills are a prominent feature of dietetic curricula, research suggests a need for more consistent approaches. The evidence on how communication skills are taught and assessed in dietetics has not been synthesised leaving uncertainty about best practice. This scoping review aimed to examine and map the research literature relating to the teaching and assessment of communication skills in dietetics.MethodsThe review was conducted in accordance with the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) methodology for scoping reviews. Five electronic databases, two theses databases and eight conference proceedings were systematically searched for research on how communication skills are taught and assessed in dietetics. The search had no geographical or time limits. Studies were independently screened by two authors, summarised thematically using the Kirkpatrick Model and narratively synthesised.ResultsThe 45 included studies were organised thematically into three categories: (i) the inclusion of communication skills education in dietetics, suggesting that dietitians have variable experiences; (ii) approaches to teaching communication skills in dietetics, characterised predominantly by a move away from didactic approaches in favour of experiential opportunities for learning such as simulation; and (iii) assessment of communication skills in dietetics, including the use of both dietetic‐specific and generic tools.ConclusionsThe included studies demonstrate that although a variety of teaching strategies are used in the development of communication skills in dietetics, there is potential for more robust evaluation and more diverse approaches to support dietetic educators to prepare the dietetic workforce.

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