A model of the multidimensional nature of experienced dietitian clinical decision-making in the acute care setting

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Clinical decision-making (CDM) is an essential component of dietetic practice which can significantly affect the quality of patient care. Research around CDM in clinical dietetics is scarce with research in other healthcare professions offering limited insight into dietitian CDM in the specific setting of the acute care hospitals. The aim of this qualitative research was to deepen understanding of the nature of the CDM of experienced dietitians in the acute care setting.
Methods: This study employed philosophical hermeneutics to guide methods situated within the interpretative paradigm. This study invited dietitians currently practising in adult acute care hospitals with at least three years’ experience to be involved two in-depth semi-structured interviews using the principles of hermeneutics. A reference focus group session was then used to provide rigour and further interpretation of the findings.
Results: Ten dietitians participated in the interviews and five of these same participants in the reference focus group. The findings have informed the development of A Model of the Multidimensional Nature of Dietitian CDM in the Acute Care Setting which reflects the nature of making decisions for patient care through the synergistic relationship between five key dimensions: (1) tasks (2) interactions (3) reasoning (4) practitioner factors; and (5) context, all of which are managed and monitored by the higher order reasoning process of the dietitian’s clinical judgement.
Conclusions: Since there is scarcity of research on the CDM of dietitians in acute care settings, this study can provide training and professional development insights to managers, educators and supervisors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-623
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number5
Early online date12 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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