Evaluation of dietetic students' and interns' application of a lifestyle-oriented nutrition-counseling model

Tanya M. Horacek, Julia E. Salomón, Elizabeth K. Nelsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess dietetic students' and interns' skills to effectively apply a lifestyle-oriented nutrition-counseling model. Methods: Between 1999 and 2004, 121 dietetics students and interns (82% retained) were trained to provide nutrition counseling and certified using a standardized patient evaluation format. Supervising registered dietitians and students evaluated transcripts of their counseling sessions using a modified version of the Dietitian's Interviewing Rating Scale (DIRS). Clients evaluated their counselor's skills. t-Tests determined differences between the supervisor and student's DIRS evaluation, and from an acceptable score of "4". ANOVA distinguished differences by student academic category and client group. Results: The student counselors scored ≥4 for five of the six skills sets, but significantly below 4 for "transitions" (the internal summaries between sections). The students rated themselves significantly higher than their supervisor did on rapport building, questioning skills, and approach to plan. Conclusion: The student counselors effectively applied the skills of a lifestyle-oriented nutrition-counseling model, and can benefit from supervisor-provided feedback. Practice implications: Nutrition counseling training/practice through various dietetic curriculums can provide future dietitians with the skills and the confidence they need to successfully assist their clients to make lifestyle behavior changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Counseling/interviewing evaluation
  • Dietetic student training
  • Holistic/whole-person nutrition counseling
  • Patient-centered
  • Self-evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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