Professional communications between physicians and dietitians as reported by dietitians Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4j03d300b

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  • Data regarding professional communications between physicians and dietitians in hospitals were obtained from results of 84 responses to a survey of all hospital dietitians (135) listed in the 1982 Oregon Dietetic Associations' Membership and Employment Directory. The data were gathered utilizing an initial mail-out questionnaire and a follow-up log booklet of communications with physicians kept during five working days. The population studied was characterized as being all women between the ages of 24 and 63, with more than 50 percent under the age of 32 years. Seventy-two percent of the dietitians worked full time and seventy percent were in the clinical division of practice in The American Dietetic Association. All of the dietitians were active members of The American Dietetic Association. A data analysis indicated that 38% of the dietitians communicated with physicians less than every other day, and most frequently these communications were reported to be through patient charts in reference to dietary prescriptions. Seventy-six percent of the dietitians indicated that 30% or less of the physicians on the medical staff consistently made referrals for nutrition counseling. The most frequently referring specialists included those in internal medicine, general practice and surgery. There appeared to be no specific age group of physicians referring more frequently than others. Sixty-five percent of the dietitians indicated that they felt that their communications with physicians were inadequate. Sixty percent of the dietitians felt that their nutrition expertise was utilized by physicians only "fairly well". Less than half of the dietitians participated in interdisciplinary medical team efforts. Significant correlations (p < .05) were found among various factors involving communications between dietitians and physicians when tested using chi square. In general, dietitians in hospitals with more than 200 beds more often considered their communications with physicians to be adequate than dietitians in smaller hospitals. A larger percentage of physicians (> 50%) in hospitals with more than 200 beds had a positive attitude about nutrition. More dietitians in larger hospitals participated in interdisciplinary medical team efforts than those in smaller hospitals. Of the dietitians indicating that their communications with physicians were adequate 61% felt their nutrition expertise was utilized "very well" and 50% had verbal contact with physicians from one to three times daily. When the physician was the initiator of communications, none of the dietitians felt that their nutrition expertise was utilized "very well". When the physician was the initiator of communications, less than 10% of these were in reference to general nutrition information. Recommendations from the study to improve communications between physicians and dietitians include required assertiveness training courses for dietitians, nutrition courses for physicians and a study of dietitians' utilization of time and their perceived priorities.
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