NSDA Newsletter - October 2019

Article Index


 I’ve been struggling with whether an intern should pass their practicum placement. Since I am unsure, is it okay to rely on the national exam (CDRE) to confirm their competency?

Regulatory bodies rely on the assumption that students have been assessed during their education program to successfully perform all of the performance indicators. The CDRE is a validation of competence.  It is important to be aware that graduates practice for a short time before they write the exam and that the CDRE does not test all of the performance indicators. Below are examples of performance indicators that can not be tested on a multiple-choice exam, but impact competent, safe and effective practice. It is therefore very important for preceptors to assess to all of the performance indicators rather thanto rely on the exam as a competency assessment.

  • The ability to ensure appropriate and secure documentation (1.10)
  • The ability to use effective written and oral communication skills (2.02 & 2.03)
  • The ability to use effective interpersonal skills (2.04)
  • The ability to deliver group educational sessions (2.05 g)
  • The ability to contribute productively to teamwork and collaborative processes (2.06)
  • The ability to obtain client perspective (3.01 c), obtain and interpret medical history (3.01 d), obtain and interpret demographic, psychosocial and health behaviour history (3.01 d) and obtain and interpret nutrition-focused physical findings (3.01 k)
  • The ability to manage implementation of nutrition care plans (3.03)
  • The ability to complete several aspects related to managing food services (5.03), including contributing to purchasing, receiving, storage, inventory control, or disposal activities for food products, contribute to food production and distribution activities, contribute to improvement initiates related to food services and contribute to activities related to compliance with health and safety requirements.

Click HERE for the link to Integrated Competencies for a comprehensive comparison of what is assessed in academic, internship and the national exam.

What will change when NSDA becomes known as a College under new legislation?

When the Dietitians Act (2009) is proclaimed, NSDA will become the Nova Scotia College of Dietitians and Nutritionists (NSCDN). The aim of professional regulation is to protect the public by ensuring professionals are qualified to practice and practice in a competent, safe and ethical manner.  NSDA was established in 1956 and had the dual role of functioning as both a regulatory body and an association.  In 1998, NSDA began functioning solely as a regulatory body.  Dietitians of Canada took on the profession's association role.

Under NSDA's current legislation, the profession's titles are protected.  Therefore, only those licensed with NSDA may use the protected titles: dietitian and nutritionist.  The new Act protects the titles, registered dietitian (RD) and nutritionist.

In the new legislation, the profession's scope of practice is defined.  A defined scope of practice will enable dietitians to practice to their full capacity.  In other words, they will be authorized to do what they are qualified to do.  For example, the dietitian will be licensed to order an enteral nutrition regime for a patient in the hospital. Standards for nutrition prescription have been drafted and will be launched after college proclamation. 

There will be new license categories and the ability to move onto a non-practicing roster if a registrant is taking a leave of absence from practice.  The new legislation will enable the college to regulate and board to govern in accordance with best practices and in-line with other colleges in Nova Scotia. 

In-person presentations are scheduled at the following locations:

November 25 from 2:30-4 p.m. at Digby General Hospital boardroom
November 26 from 10-11:30 a.m.at Yarmouth General Hospital, Bluenose room
November 4 in Port Hawkesbury at the Straight Richmond Hospital in the board room from 1-3 p.m.
November 5 from 10:30-12:30 p.m. at Cape Breton Regional at the renal clinic

Click HERE to register.