Canadian registered dietitians’ perceptions towards and engagement in interprofessional collaboration
Dr. Kathryn Asher, Dr. Shelley Doucet, and Dr. Alison Luke
Centre for Research in Integrated Care, University of New Brunswick
Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) has received substantial attention in the literature given its benefits for patient and health service delivery outcomes. Yet, little is known about collaborative practice as it relates to the dietetic profession in Canada. To address this gap, a pan-Canadian, cross-sectional online survey was administered to registered dietitians (RDs) between January and March 2020. Prior to data collection, the study underwent piloting, ethics approval, and public pre-registration. Data was analyzed in SPSS and entailed descriptive and inferential statistics. A total of N = 469 RDs from 10 provinces participated in the study. Findings showed a significant difference between the frequency with which RDs collaborated with other health and social care providers and their desired frequency, with 61.0% reporting they wanted more frequent collaboration (p < .001). Results on the Interprofessional Interaction Scale showed 59.2% of RDs had a score in the negative range, 35.7% in the neutral range, and 5.1% in the positive range. Most RDs believe their profession is underutilized in health care (92.5%) and that there is a need to raise better awareness about the dietetic profession (95.4%). A majority of respondents reported that their dietetic training prepared them to work with other providers and imparted knowledge and awareness around IPC. The obstacles to IPC cited most frequently were insufficient time/availability, followed by communication and opportunities/proximity. Findings suggest that IPC is an area in need of attention in the dietetic profession. The study’s results point to potential areas for improvement.