Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Dietetic practice evolves as evidence about the relationships between food, nutrition, health and individuals and communities is more fully understood. Through exploring contemporary topics and settings in dietetic practice, students will be able to build a deep understanding of issues and develop potential solutions that result in improved health. Students will be assisted to develop an ethical, culturally sensitive, and safe approach to practice as they explore dietetic practice in subgroups within the population, and in the diverse settings where dietetic practice is undertaken. Students will be expected to understand their role within services that aim to improve people's health, well-being, functional status and disease, and the broader public health system. This unit aims to help students ethically, sensitively, and professionally apply their foundation food and nutrition science knowledge and skills through dietetic practice and provide a framework to respond to changing dietetic practice and emerging issues.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Evaluate the scientific evidence related to contemporary areas of dietetic practice to inform best practice (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Apply best practice to a range of client setting scenarios (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Translate the principles of ethical, culturally sensitive and safe, and reflective ways of working into real dietetic practice case studies/scenarios (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Demonstrate the development of a professional, critical, problem-solving attitude to study and dietetic practice (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


This unit includes topics related to the development and demonstration of professional dietetic practice and competence according to the Accreditation Standards of Dietitians Australia. These are described under the heading ‘Building professional dietetic practice’ in each unit outline and build on topics delivered synchronously and progressively throughout the degree. Those in bold reflect ‘new’ topics addressed in this unit. Students will have opportunities for collecting evidence of competence in these, and in other areas (italics).

Building professional dietetic practice

  • reflection and evaluation of practice
  • acknowledges, reflects and understands own values, beliefs, attitudes, biases and assumptions and their influence on practice
  • scope of practice and standards of care, codes of conduct
  • culturally safe and responsive practice (requiring emotional, spiritual, and cultural intelligence)
  • continuing professional development
  • attributes (empathy, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, ethical, respectful, demonstrates integrity, honesty, fairness, critical thinker)
  • understanding and advocating for the role of the dietitian in health care teams

Terminology in dietetic practice and the MDP

  • Accredited Practising Dietitian
  • Health care services and systems (including the journey from admission to discharge and beyond in health care services), and the role of dietetic practice
  • Settings for dietetic practice
  • Ethical dietetic practice
  • Commitment to excellence of practice
  • Culturally safe dietetic practice
  • Record keeping
  • Informatics
  • Telehealth
  • Communication media

Problem solving approach to practice

Workload and time management, prioritising workload

Contemporary topics

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander Peoples' health and nutritional status, ways of sharing stories about food and nutrition-related health
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse groups, their health and nutritional status, ‘lost in translation' and working with interpreters
  • Sustainability considerations from paddock to plate and the interplay between these and psychosocial factors affecting consumption and nutrition
  • Optimal health and normal nutrition
  • Prevention and disease management
  • Nutrigenomics
  • Sports and performance nutrition
  • Paediatrics
  • Aged care/geriatrics
  • Mental health and positive eating behaviours
  • Disability and the NDIS

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit content will be delivered over 12 weeks.

The learning and teaching strategy adopted aligns with the sequencing of the learning outcomes and consists of three phases that are designed to provide students with a developmental learning experience. The unit begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of specialist knowledge needed to understand the role of a dietetic practice within settings and services for promoting health and treating disease, and the especially in diverse cultural domains and in contemporary areas of practice. The approaches used to facilitate students’ learning include online learning modules and readings. The unit then builds on this theoretical knowledge and assists students to develop understanding and then application through practical skills development first through applied tutorials and then case studies and role play. Overall, the approaches used in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively, and logically, support students learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each stage. As an overarching strategy, this is expected to engender high levels of engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit, three core assessment tasks are sequenced to progressively support students learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. The fourth assessment task provides students with the opportunity to develop their professional practice portfolio, that they will continue to build throughout their study. A range of assessment strategies are used in ways that support the developmental sequence of the learning and teaching strategy. The first assessment task will take the form of a series of case studies on contemporary dietetic practice theory and application.  These case studies will be submitted and returned within semester, allowing students to progress from incompetent to novice. In the early weeks of semester students will receive formative feedback from peers before submitting latter case studies for summative grading. These case studies replace an exam which would be the traditional way to assess students’ developing knowledge, understanding and then application to a practice setting. It is important that students demonstrate competence through these case studies to progress to the next stage of their learning. Assessment two involves a written assessment task submitted within the first three weeks, with feedback provided prior to submission of the second assessment task. This task provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to examine the role of evidence-based, ethical dietetic practice in health systems. The third assessment task extends this theoretical understanding, by requiring students to consider how they will practice with cultural safety. Students will also start to gather evidence of competence to practice according to Dietitians Australian as their final assessment task.

Combined, these assessment tasks will allow unit coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes and attainment of graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1

Graded hurdle - Case studies

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to interpret and apply evidence related to dietetic practice throughout semester.

Graded Hurdle


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 2

Written assessment task

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to examine the role of evidence-based, ethical dietetic practice in health systems.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA9

Assessment 3

Written assessment task

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to approach dietetic practice with cultural safety.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA9

Assessment 4

Professional practice portfolio

Enables students to gather evidence to demonstrate competence to practice .


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian Government Department of Health. (2015). Australian Dietaty Guidelines.

Australian Government Department of Health. (2015). Nutrient Refreence Values for Australia and New Zealand.

Bauer, K. D., Liou, D. & Sokolik, C. A. (2016, 2020). Nutrition Counselling and Education Skill Development. 3rd and 4th Ed. Cengage Learning, Wadsworth, USA.

Croxford, S, Itsiopoulos, C, Forsyth, A. et al. Ed. (2015). Food and Nutrition Throughout Life. Allen & Unwin, Australia.

Gandy, J. Ed. (2019). Manual of Dietetic Practice. 6th Edition. Wiley, UK.

Stewart. R. (2020). Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. 6th Ed. Nutrition Care Professionals Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Stewart, R., Vivanti, A. & Myers, E. (2016). Nutrition Care and Process Terminology. Nutrition Care Professionals Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Universities Australia. (2011). What is Cultural Competence? A Discussion of the Literature. In Universities Australia National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities. (pp. 37-41)

Whitney, E.N., Crowe, T., S., Cameron-Smith, D., Walsh, A., and Rady Rolfes, S. (2014) Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition (2nd Ed.). South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.

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