Continuing Educational Needs and Preferences for Swiss Registered Dietitians: Lessons Learned

Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) in Switzerland offers continuing educational programs for registered dietitians. In order to initialize effective changes to maximize attendance, the promotors and barriers influencing the participation of Swiss registered dietitians to continuing education classes were identified. A survey was conducted from December 2013 to January 2014 and sent to 630 registered members of the Swiss Association of Registered Dietitians (SVDE). The questionnaire was developed on the web-based software Survey Monkey® and included 37 open- and closed-ended questions. Evaluation questions were based on a four-point Likert scale and space for individual comments was ensured. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and chi-squared tests. The final sample included 202 dietitians, the majority being female (96%), between 25 and 54 years old (90%) and 45% worked in clinical settings. Almost 70% had participated in a BFH continuing education course. Respondents were overall very satisfied with parameters including course registration, organisation, content, professional competence of teachers, and practical relevance. Preferred course format were short courses (1-2 days). The lecturer’s limited practical experience, no interest to the subject matter, and no cost coverage by employer were mentioned as the main barriers for attending courses. Based on lessons learned from this evaluation, the following aspects should be considered in order to secure the attractiveness of such programs: Favouring shorter more intensive courses and having them taught by lecturers with a strong practical experience, and hence with more insightful approach. Topics should be established based on the audience’s expectations and needs, possibly through an inquiry among professional societies. In addition, overlapping fields as for example nutritional psychology, gerontology, and transdisciplinary approaches could be further included to broaden the dietitians’ perspectives and encourage a more holistic approach. Finally, the registration process and quality of teaching environment should be seamless, in order to avoid negative influences on the course.


Sadeghi L, Martins S, Müller S, Ruch L and Jenzer H

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