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NUTR501 Contemporary Dietetic Practice Theory and Application AND NUTR502 Dietetic Practice with Individuals

Unit rationale, description and aim

Individual case management is an established area of dietetic practice. Dietitians work with individuals, and their carers and families, to support them to make dietary changes to improve their general health and wellbeing, or to treat a nutrition-related disease. This unit introduces students to nutrition screening, assists students to apply their understanding of disease pathophysiology through best practice dietetic management of common food and nutrition related problems including diabetes, cardiovascular system diseases, metabolic syndrome, coeliac disease and other gastrointestinal disorders, allergy and intolerance, and enteral feeding in individuals. Students will apply this new knowledge, and the knowledge and skills developed in NUTR501 Contemporary Dietetic Practice Theory and Application, and NUTR502 Dietetic Practice with Individuals, through practice placement. They will be expected to collect and interpret relevant nutrition assessment data to formulate nutrition diagnoses, agree on goals and actions to address food and nutrition related issues, and communicate professionally with all stakeholders in individual care environments. The unit aims to provide students with the opportunity to start to develop competence in the dietetic management of common food and nutrition.

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 - Collect, collate, and interpret appropriate data, including applying a nutrition screening tool, to inform nutrition diagnoses for individuals for common conditions using best-practice dietetic practice, and effectively document (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Effectively apply and document the elements of the nutrition management process with individuals in a practice setting (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Demonstrate client-centred nutrition management through development of mutually agreed goals and actions to manage food and nutrition related issues (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Demonstrate ability to use dietary change counselling skills to facilitate change in dietary habits in individuals (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO5 - Communicate effectively and professionally with the healthcare team (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO6 - Reflect on, and evaluate performance, and incorporate feedback to inform practice development (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

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

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 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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, peer support and assessment
  • acknowledges, reflects and understands own values, beliefs, attitudes, biases and assumptions privilege and power, at the individual and systems level, and their influence on practice
  • scope of practice and standards of care, codes of conduct
  • continuing professional development
  • attributes (empathy, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, ethical, respectful, demonstrates integrity, honesty, fairness, critical thinker)
  • workload and time management, prioritising workload
  • excellence of practice
  • feedback cycles
  • client-centred approach to practice
  • technological proficiency
  • culturally safe and responsive practice (requiring emotional, spiritual and cultural intelligence)
  • active listening, interpersonal and interviewing skills
  • collaboration and communication skills with stakeholders
  • systematically acquires, evaluates and applies findings into practice
  • appropriate nutrition diagnoses/decision-making
  • peer education, sharing new knowledge
  • understanding and advocating for the role of the dietitian in individual nutrition management - consolidation
  • reflection of own personal health and wellbeing
  • taking responsibility for own actions
  • resource, team worker, leader

This unit requires the completion of 18 days of individual case management placement. Content delivery is arranged as required to support these placements and the underpinning theoretical components. This content includes:

Food and nutrition assessment in practice environments

  • advanced data collection, collation, interpretation, recording of data
  • nutrition screening

Individualised nutrition management in practice environments

  • disease pathophysiology and management, and consolidating nutrition diagnoses and collaborative, client-centred and tailored goal formation implementation, and review, including discharge planning and/or referral to other services where appropriate.
  • advanced dietary change counselling to build self-efficacy for making sustainable, positive food, nutrition, and health changes in individuals
  • continued translation of current food and nutrition science and dietetic best practice into practical advice with consideration of behavioural, social and environmental factors
  • dysphagia
  • use of enteral feeding in nutrition management
  • individual client record keeping in accordance with placement and accepted standards for the following conditions:
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular system diseases
  • metabolic syndrome
  • allergy and food intolerance
  • coeliac disease, and other gastrointestinal diseases
  • surgical nutrition

Both professional practice and performance will be directed by the university and the appointed placement supervisor at the host organisation, through a pre-defined and monitored set of criteria that encompass:

  • ability to perform elements of individual case management of clients
  • professional practices/attributes to be demonstrated whilst undertaking the experience
  • ability to seek, respond to and provide feedback from clients (carers etc.) the healthcare team and supervisors
  • overall student performance throughout the placement

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit content is unit will be delivered in two stages. The theoretical and case study/simulation component will be delivered intensively in the first six-eight weeks of semester with a gradual increase in placement days per week from the mid to latter weeks of semester. 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 consolidation of specialist knowledge and application for individual case management in dietetic practice, the assessment of nutritional status, nutrition management planning, dietary counselling for common food and nutrition-related conditions. 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 case studies and role play and then practice placement. 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 assessments are sequenced to synchronously, yet progressively, support students' learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. 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 nutrition management case studies related to common food and nutrition-related conditions in individuals and extends development of case management commenced in earlier units. These case studies will be submitted and returned within semester, with the first in week two, allowing students to progress from novice to advanced beginner. 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. The second assessment task involves a written assessment task submitted within the first four weeks, with feedback provided prior to commencement of placement where students will be able to constructively apply their learning and feedback related to this assessment task. This task provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of theoretical nutrition management with individuals to start to develop their own approach to dietary counselling. The final assessment is an extension of their professional practice portfolio wherein addition to continuing to collect evidence of their developing competence to practice, they will reflect on their supervisor's final assessment of their placement and articulate a plan for their continued development of competence according to Dietitians Australia. There is one ungraded hurdle requirement for this unit, the completion of 18 days of placement. The 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.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment 2

Written assessment task

Enables students to critically review nutrition care process, including dietary change counselling in dietetic practice to inform own practice.  


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment 3

Professional practice portfolio

Enables students to gather evidence to demonstrate competence to practice, and critically reflect on supervisor’s report of placement.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Ungraded hurdle

Completion of 18 days of placement



LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.). Cengage Learning.

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