EDUCATION. Representatives from all three dietetic programs in Sweden recently come together for a lunch-to-lunch meeting in Gothenburg. There were several common issues on the agenda, including the availability of work-based education placements.
This was the first physical meeting since before the pandemic. The directors of the dietetic programs in Gothenburg, Umeå and Uppsala met at Medicinareberget. Student representatives and President of the Swedish Association of Clinical Dietitians Kjell Olsson were also present.
“It was extremely rewarding to meet and share experiences, and to plan for future cooperation,” says Sofia Klingberg, a senior lecturer and program manager for the dietetics program in Gothenburg until the end of the year. “All three dietetic programs are working hard in their own way, and it felt important to have inspired each other in connection with clinical examination forms and teaching about the nutrition treatment process during the meeting. Both the teaching and the students benefit from taking advantage of each other’s work and ideas.”
Demand for dieticians
The demand for dietitians in Sweden has increased significantly, largely thanks to the transition to Good and Close Care, with dietitians now being increasingly part of primary care. All three dietetic programs have increased the number of available places. Around a hundred new dietitians now graduate in the country every year.
“As a newly qualified dietician myself, I found it hard to get a job,” adds Kristina Franzén, a lecturer and member of teaching staff on the dietetic program in Gothenburg. “There was only one job to apply for, and that was a part-time position in Kiruna in the far north of Sweden. Today, there’s a huge demand, with many regions struggling to fill their vacant dietician positions. Seeing this development has been rewarding.”
Linnaeus University recently applied to start a fourth dietetic program in Sweden, but this application was rejected by the Swedish Higher Education Authority. The university already offers a bachelor’s degree program in nutrition and food science.
A shortage of work-based education places
A major obstacle to offering more training places is the difficulty in finding work-based education placements. While discussing the availability of such placements, it became clear that all three universities have experienced some difficulties in securing the required number of placements, but that the problem is particularly serious in Gothenburg. The discussion resulted in the Swedish Association of Clinical Dietitians agreeing to try to raise awareness among professional dietitians of the need for placements in southern Sweden, with the dietetic program in Gothenburg planning to contact the management network for managers in nutrition, to identify new ways to secure more work-based education placements.
The meeting also discussed issues including this year’s alumni survey, research on digital patient meetings and how this can be implemented in teaching and clinical examinations.
BY: ELIN LINDSTRÖM