18 November 2020
Angela Madden PhD RD discusses the development of the dietetic learning outcomes and learning pack
Angela Madden PhD RD is a dietitian working as a Clinical Researcher in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Hertfordshire. She has worked as an NHS dietitian and a university lecturer for more than 30 years and is a Fellow of the British Dietetic Association.
One of the great joys of working as a lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics is sharing the company of enthusiastic students and their desire to ‘make a difference’. There are many areas in nutrition where there is potential to make a difference to people’s lives through improved health and wellbeing. One of the most impactful is at the start of life where infant feeding practices can have a positive influence in both the short-term and the decades that follow.
It has been my privilege to contribute to the team who have developed learning outcomes for student dietitians that support best infant feeding practices. These are a starting point that set a standard for the level of knowledge and understanding that could be reasonably expected from newly qualified dietitians. These will equip them with the background they need to act as future leaders in nutrition in whatever their future role, i.e. they are not just intended as a first step towards specialising in paediatrics, but as fundamental knowledge and understanding that all dietitians need. Why?
The way I see it is that infants do not exist in isolation, but within families within societies where there are influences and pressures that impact on infant feeding. Dietitians have daily conversations about food and health, with individuals and groups, in organisations as well as socially, where a positive, well-informed outlook on infant feeding can constructively help.
This is not just about directly supporting current mothers and fathers with young infants but changing culture where it’s needed, which includes thinking about the wider family, grandparents, future parents (today’s children and adolescents), colleagues, business planners and commercial choices, including sponsorship. All dietitians have the potential to make a difference here.
I know university lecturers and course directors work incredibly hard to deliver high quality teaching to their student dietitians: health courses are demanding and highly scrutinised! So, part of this learning outcome initiative is the provision of up-to-date resources including slides to facilitate the delivery of excellent teaching that will enable students to meet these learning outcomes.
I came to this project knowing something about learning outcomes for university teaching, but have learnt so much working alongside specialists in infant feeding, including practitioners and the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative experts.
I am impressed with their knowledge, collective passion and materials developed. I am very pleased to support the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative learning outcomes and recommend them to universities and all the student dietitians to help them to make a positive difference in their future careers.
The slide pack, which includes a full set of notes, key references and suggested resources, is available to support university lecturers and all those teaching pre- and post-registration dietitians. If you would like to access this pack, please complete the registration form.