Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dietitians and Social Media

Dietitians and Social Media
            In the 21st century the internet has skyrocketed creating social media, a cyberspace output for communication, which has now become the foundation in American society providing real-time communication for people across the globe at a convenience to its users. Popular social media sites such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and others has quickly changed the way people communicate with each other, receive news, promote brands, and debate issues and has seemingly outdating conventional styles of communication in the process (ie. Telephone, fax, and face-to-face communication).

            This trendy marketplace provides a great deal of opportunity for dietitians in the field to promote and share science-based nutrition information, address and correct food and nutrition related misinformation, convey practical food and nutrition advice, and market their own or their affiliated organization’s business. In addition, social media provides a unique output for dietitians that can help to gain visibility, recognition, keep up with trends, and connect and expand professional connections. For example, an individual dietitian or dietitian affiliated with a larger organization may decide to market their brand or organization through a professional Facebook page, or a twitter account. These online networking site provide its services for free to consumers and is a great marketing tool for businesses that has the potential to reach millions of people around the world in a short period of time.  

            Although social media can provide boundless opportunity for dietitians, aspects of credibility, integrity, and positive influence in the dietetics profession should be kept maintained through effective social media communication. Tips for effective social media communication is outlined in an article by Barth, & Seher (2012) in Today’s Dietitian and include 1) showing integrity 2) remaining authentic 3) staying civil 4) taking precautions 5) showing professionalism 6) keeping information confidential 7) valuing originality and 8) scrutinizing your online presence.  In addition, for an effective social media presence individual dietitians or dietitians working for a larger organization need to be aware of the benefits of copyright their own original work , ways to protect themselves from copyright infringement, and should abide by the Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics in every aspect.

Cochran, N., & King, D. (2015). Dietitians on social media: Promoting and protecting your work. Today’s Dietitian, 17(10), 50. Retrieved from

Barth, C. M., & Seher, C. L. (2012). The power of social networking: Here’s how you can use it to market your brand. Today’s Dietitian, 14(5), 36. Retrieved from

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Workplace Perception Study May Help Dietetic Managers Retain Staff

Workplace Perception Study May Help Dietetic Managers Retain Staff

A challenge many dietetic managers face is staff retention. The ability to identify factors their employees consider important in workplace satisfaction may be key to retaining dietitians. A recent study published in Nutrition & Dietetics, the journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia, was able to identify five sources of value that dietitians seek to find in their workplace.

Researchers conduced 32 interviews with clinical dietitians from 11 different hospitals in New South Wales. Questions asked sought to determine each person's motivation for career choice, personal values, opinions on their career, perception of their work quality, and career vision.

Analyzing the interviews using a grounded theory approach, the results were grouped into five themes. It is these themes which dietitians find value and validation of their jobs. These themes included acquisition of knowledge, relationships with others, work culture, role clarity, and personal attributes.

Additionally, researchers were able to group the interviewed dietitians by their career stage- new graduates, mid-career dietitians, specialists, and managers. They found that specific themes were more prevalent in different career stages. For example, new graduates were concerned with acquisition of knowledge whereas mid-career dietitians were more concerned with role clarity and work culture.

In practice, dietetic managers can use this information when developing workplace training and setting department goals. The specific values found for each classification of dietitian can help the manager tailor individual tasks and goals to each employee based on where they are in their career. However, the results of this study are limited as the research is qualitative in nature and the determined workplace values may not be the same for each dietitian. It is important that managers take the time to get to know their employees and could even use questions from this study to determine what makes their employees "tick". In doing so, the dietetic manager can work to create the best workplace environment possible in hopes of retaining employees successfully.

1. Milosavljevic M, Noble G, Goluza I, Keep A, Ponta G. New South Wales public-hospital dietitians and how they feel about their workplace: an explorative study using a grounded theory approach. Nutri Diet. 2015;72:107-113. doi:10.1111/1747-0080.12119.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ethics in Action: Ethical Considerations in Management Practice

            In this article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) it focuses on the importance of implementing ethical decision making. Managers today are faced with a variety of situations and they are expected to make ethical choices when handling problems. A managers leadership style also plays a role in the decision making process. Managerial decisions can impact how coworkers view and trust their managers as well as the safety of patients or clients in the practice. Managers must utilize their ethical training when performing tasks, developing relationships, and making changes within an organization. 
            The academy has created its own Code of Ethics that managers can use as a guideline. It contains a three factor approach for making ethical decisions. Which include task, relations, and change. Task focuses on what should be understood in certain situations. Relations focuses on who the decision is going to affect. Change focuses on when a situation arises make sure to use an ethical approach. When utilizing ethical reasoning when making decisions managers will be confident that they are doing what is best for their organization.

Sauer, K. (2016). Ethics in Action: Ethical Considerations in Management Practice. Journal of           the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(1), 148-149.

Evaluating Human Resources and Financial Management Responsibilities of Clinical Nutrition Managers

This Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study looks at defining the clinical nutrition manager’s (CNM) responsibilities in managing human and financial resources. This also includes determining educational needs and provides a “demographic profile for practicing CNMs.”  89% of participants reported being very involved in the management of human resources, especially with motivating staff and “identifying non-compliant behavior of staff.”   Looking at the less frequently done tasks, few CNMs reported spending time creating job descriptions for their staff.  The self-reported competency level was 23.7% competent, 46.5% proficient, 29.8% expert.  A major reason for the difference in task frequency is varying hospital sizes where the CNM works.  In summary, the results showed the most common job responsibilities are managing clinical operations, providing leadership to clinical nutrition services and/or foodservice operations, motivating staff, providing MNT to clients/patients, and managing foodservice operations.
            The most surprising aspect of this study was the self-reported competency level of the clinical nutrition managers.  Only 46% thought they were proficient even though the article said the average length of time being a CNM in their current position was 10.5 years. 60% of the respondents also had a masters degree, making it even more shocking that they do not feel like they are competent.  I think this feeling of not being competent may stem from the importance of dietitians having to prove their worth in the medical field. Feelings of not being taken seriously as an important asset as a medical professional may be a reason for this lower than expected percentage.  Overall, the study did a good job helping to define what a clinical nutrition manager does and gives a better idea of their scope of practice.
Howells, A. , Sauer, K., Shanklin, C. "Evaluating Human Resources and Financial Management Responsibilities of Clinical Nutrition Managers." J Acad Nutr Diet. 21 March 2016. doi:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Food Waste Management: A Moral Dilemma of Food Service Managers

            Have you ever visited a supermarket and asked yourself, “Why are there so many options? Where does all the unsold food end up?”  These questions have recently become part of a world-wide dialogue regarding food waste.  Food waste, or the disposal of food appropriate for human consumption, has reached staggering heights as 850 million metric tons of food is wasted annually in the United States.  While food waste can occur anywhere along the food supply chain, retail and wholesale stores and their managers are key to addressing this issue.

            The business goals of stores are to provide a wide variety of products and product availability, while minimizing the financial burden and complying with legal regulations.  Large inventories result in the inevitable repurposing of food for charities, animal feed, and, most commonly, disposal or recycling.  In the face of such extreme food waste, managers are now experiencing a moral burden when required to dispose of unsalable, but still consumable, products while so many people, including employees, are experiencing food insecurity.  As a result, stores are now reexamining their goals to help ease the moral burden of the store managers and find new avenues for food upcycling.

            Although store managers must fight battles against regulatory bodies dictating expiration or sell-by dates, as well as societal expectations for product quality and availability, the solution is clear.  Recommendations to reduce food waste include changing regulatory requirements to allow for more freedom to donate to charities; adopting more effective training programs to eliminate accidental food waste; and educating consumers to appropriately read expiration or sell-by dates, make more mindful purchasing decisions, and be open to purchasing “abnormal foods”.  As stores work to mitigate consumerism, store managers will have more autonomy to repurpose foods, help feed the population, and ease their moral burden.

Gruber, V. v., Holweg, C. c., & Teller, C. c. (2016). What a waste! Exploring the human reality of food waste from the store manager's perspective. Journal Of Public Policy & Marketing, 35(1), 3-25. doi: 10.1509/jppm.14.095


Does gender make a difference? How female leaders are gaining momentum

In a world dominated by men, the woman’s path to managerial, supervisory, and ownership roles has been slow and rocky, with only about 15% of women holding positions at the director level or above.  Historically, leadership roles for women in the hospitality industry were sparse with limited opportunity for promotion; however, perceptions are beginning to change and a light has appeared at the end of the tunnel.

In an effort to enhance performance, corporations are beginning to ask, “How does the gender of those in supervisory roles affect customer ratings of restaurant appearance and food safety performance?”  With a precedent that women have been traditionally more attune to engaging in cleanliness practices and food safety behaviors, such as hand washing and equipment sanitation, and the knowledge that consumers equate clean bathrooms with clean and safe kitchens, corporations are looking critically at the potential need for a gender shift in the industry.

Studies have concluded that restaurants run by women scored significantly higher in both store appearance and food safety performance than those run by men.  As a result, large corporations, such as Burger King and McDonald’s, are endeavoring to hire more women in leadership roles.  With hope, the enhanced performance exhibited by female leaders will lead to the banishment of gender stereotypes in the hospitality industry and a proliferation of women managers, supervisors, and owners in the hospitality and food service industries.  Go ladies!

Mathe-Soulek, K., Roseman, M. G., & Scott-Halsell, S. (2014). Does the gender of quick-service franchisees and corporate supervisors and managers affect restaurant appearance and food safety performance?. Journal Of Foodservice Business Research, 17, 472-782. doi: 10.1080/15378020.2014.967568