The 2015 DAA National Competency Standards for Dietitians in Australia will be systematically incorporated into our topics, starting in 2017. The new competencies present an opportunity to refresh the placement topics by incorporating new assessment processes and forms to ensure a consistent approach to assessment and competency development across all placements. The good news for Placement Educators is that while the assessment forms will be different, the approach will be simplified, is much better for student learning and there will be fewer forms to complete.
Students will be introduced to the new DAA competencies during the January teaching intensive and will be provided with information on the 2017 placement structure. The new competencies encourage students to provide evidence of achievement through competence. As a result, students will be introduced to a ‘portfolio approach’ of assessment which will represent a collection of evidence gathered over the duration of their placement to support the students’ progress towards competence. This portfolio approach will be consistent across all three placement settings (community and public health, clinical and food service placements). The aim of the portfolio is for students to collate evidence of learning in a self-directed and reflective manner, to support placement educators in providing supervision and to promote feedback to students on skill development.
Key changes to the DAA competencies are that they are consistent with other health professional competency standards and encourage us to move away from the term ‘entry level’ and instead use the term ‘competent’. Competencies around underlying knowledge have been removed as this is amply taught at University. There is an emphasis on the application of this knowledge and the development of professional skills using competency-based learning instead. The use of the word ‘domain’ instead of ‘unit’ is new and the DAA competencies are more attentive to client and community centred care.
Details about the changes for placement topics will be provided in 2017 and updates from topic coordinators will follow. We welcome and encourage input into these changes from you and have a number of professional development opportunities planned. These changes are very much a placement educator, academics and student partnership. For more information about the National Competency Standards see the information published on the DAA website.