Credit points


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NUTR503 Dietetic Practice with Groups

Unit rationale, description and aim

Practice in community and public health nutrition requires a unique set of skills to bring about changes in food systems that ultimately impacts individuals' health. Through critical examination of the role of policy and its translation to practice in health, students will be supported to write a response to a food and nutrition system problem through developing policy and strategy. Building on skills developed in NUTR503 Dietetic Practice with Groups, students will be guided through structured case studies to develop a deep understanding of the current local, national, and international food and nutrition issues to facilitate development of appropriate food and nutrition interventions for health promotion and treatment of disease. Students will be provided with the opportunity to develop skills in advocacy and the practice of lobbying to influence decision makers. The aim of this unit is to facilitate development of a range of skills critical to successful practice in the community and public spheres of health and wellbeing. 

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 - Critically examine how policy is developed and supports delivery of health services to improve the health of communities (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Critically assess the effectiveness of existing food and nutrition-related community and public health programs (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Investigate current local and global food and nutrition issues to inform need, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a food and nutrition-related intervention (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Write policy and supporting strategy, including an advocacy plan, to address a food and nutrition problem (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

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, 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
  • digital literacy/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 decision-making
  • critical, proactive problem-solving approach to practice
  • reflection of own personal health and wellbeing
  • communication skills for conflict resolution
  • taking responsibility for own actions
  • documenting in accordance with accepted industry standards
  • resource, team worker, leader
  • understanding and advocating for the role of the dietitian in advocating for food and nutrition change for communities

Food and nutrition policy

  • Food and nutrition data for driving policy and practice
  • Prevention and public health nutrition
  • Policy processes; development, impact
  • Translation of policy to practice, strategic planning
  • Health systems, politics, and policy
  • Policy within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context
  • Dietary change in communities, countries and around the globe
  • Local, national, and global state of food and nutrition 
  • Sustainable Development Goals (historical and current context)
  • International food and nutrition priorities and responses to crises
  • Health promotion theory and socioecological framework for influencing health 
  • Advanced behaviour change theories
  • Community development and capacity building
  • Culturally sensitive and safe food and nutrition interventions; systematic needs assessment, program planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  • Types of evaluation

Advocacy and lobbying for change

  • Theories and models of advocacy (individual, systemic, self, citizen, family, legal) and application to food and nutrition issues
  • Transparent lobbying for food and nutrition change
  • Communicating and relationship-building with stakeholders

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 examine the application of food and nutrition policy and the roles of community development and advocacy to effect change. 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, four assessments are staged to progressively support students’ learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. The first assessment task involves a written assessment task submitted within the first four weeks, with feedback provided prior to submission of the second assessment task. This task provides students with the opportunity to understand the relationship between policy, practice, and health outcomes as a foundation for writing food and nutrition policy. The second assessment task extends application of policy into development of interventions and students will communicate their work creatively using non-traditional media. The third assessment task brings together theoretical learnings and feedback from earlier assessment tasks to write policy and strategy. The final assessment is an extension of their professional practice portfolio where they will continue to collect evidence of their developing competence to practice. 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

Written assessment task

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to critically review of food and nutrition policy and program.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment 2

Multimedia assessment task

Enable students to demonstrate their ability to design interventions to solve food and nutrition problems.


LO2, LO3, LO4

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

Assessment 3

Multimedia assessment task

Enable students to demonstrate their ability to write food and nutrition policy and strategy, and the role of advocacy in this process.


LO3, LO4

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

Assessment 4

Professional practice portfolio

Enables students to gather evidence to demonstrate competence to practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

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

Representative texts and references

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

Contento, I. & Koch, P. A. (2020). Nutrition Education: Linking Research, Theory and Practice. 4th Ed. Jones and Bartlett, USA

Hughes, R. & Margetts, B. M. (2011). Practical Public Health Nutrition. Oxford, United Kingdom: Wiley

Hughes, R. & Margetts, B. (2011). The public health nutrition intervention management bi-cycle: a model for training and practice improvement. Public Health Nutrition, 15(11), 1981-8, doi:10.1017/S1368980011002011

Lawrence, M., and Worsley, T. (2007). Public Health Nutrition: From Principles to Practice. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Spark, A., Obenchain, J., and Dinour, L.M. (2015). Nutrition in Public Health (2nd Ed.). Milton Park, UK: Taylor & Francis.

US Department of Agriculture. (2020) Dietary Guidelines from Around the World.

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)

Worsley, T. (2008). Nutrition Promotion: Theories and methods, systems and settings. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin

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