Bridging Leadership Perspectives: Practitioner vs. Educator in the Healthcare Field of Dietetics

Main Article Content

Katie R. Miner
Laura B. Holyoke
Samantha A. Ramsay


Aims: Identify leadership competencies and skills needed by entry-level registered dietitians. An overarching goal was to provide curriculum developers in healthcare professions directions about leadership competencies required for entry into the professional workforce.

Study Design:  Modified Delphi Study.

Methodology: We invited 105 participants to populate two expert panel groups (1) practitioners serving in professional leadership positions as presidents for state affiliate associations of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (N=52) and (2) educators of dietetic professionals holding position of director of a Coordinated Dietetic programs (N=53). Perspectives about leadership competencies and skills from registered dietitians were examined through a three round Delphi study analyzing views of two expert panel groups: practitioners and educators.

Results: Initially, panelists identified leadership priorities for dietetics educational programs. In subsequent rounds, panelists rated importance of leadership priority statements. Through qualitative analysis, responses between panel groups were compared. Additionally, chi-square analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between ratings of each panel. Practitioners and educators rated 32 out of 202 leadership statements differently (p<0.5), indicating some contrasting leadership perspectives based on professional role.

Discussion: Findings from qualitative analysis suggest different leadership perspectives may exist between educators and practitioners. Educators are urged to consider differences in leadership perspectives when preparing students for leadership positions.

Education, Delphi study, dietetics, healthcare, leadership

Article Details

How to Cite
Miner, K. R., Holyoke, L. B., & Ramsay, S. A. (2020). Bridging Leadership Perspectives: Practitioner vs. Educator in the Healthcare Field of Dietetics. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 33(2), 21-31.
Original Research Article


Abdolijavad K, Soudabeh V, Reza MM, Ahmad B, Ali A, Ali H. Conceptual skill in physicians: An overlooked basic competency. HealthMED. 2012;6(10): 3359-3365.

Center for Creative Leadership. Addressing the leadership gap in healthcare: What’s needed when it comes to leader talent?

Garman AN, Lemak CH. Developing healthcare leaders: What we have learned, and what is next. National Center for Healthcare Leadership.

Kabir C, Potty A, Sharma R. Current opportunities for the development of leadership skills for doctors. Int J Clin Leadership. 2008;16: 115-19.

Varkey P, Peloquin J, Reed D, Lindor K, Harris I. Leadership curriculum in undergraduate medical education: A study of student and faculty perspectives. Med Teach. 2009;31:244-250.

Gregoire MB, Arendt SW. Leadership: Reflections over the past 100 years. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;104:395-403.

Nyland N, Lafferty L. Implications of the dietetics workforce demand study. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112:S92-94.

Porter C. Are we training leaders? Conversations with three leaders. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:1204-1205.

Arensberg MB, Schiller MR, Vivian VM, Johnson WA, Strasser S. Transforma-tional leadership of clinical nutrition managers. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:39-45.

Barker AM, Arensberg MF, Schiller MR. Leadership in dietetics: Achieving a vision for the future. Chicago, IL: The American Dietetic Association; 1994.

Skipper A, Young LO, Mitchell BE. 2008 accreditation standards for dietetics education. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108: 1732-1735. Available:

Keeney S, Hasson, F, McKenna H. The Delphi Technique in Nursing and Health Research. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell; 2011.

Dalkey N, Helmer O. An experimental application of the Delphi method to the use of experts. Manage Sci. 1963;9(3):458-467.

Fisher RG. The Delphi method: A description, review and criticism. J Acad Libr. 1978;4(2):64-70.

Linstone HA. Turoff M. The Delphi method techniques and applications.

Couper MR. The Delphi technique: Characteristics and sequence model. Adv Nurs Sci. 1984;79(1):72-77.

Akins R, Tolson H, Cole BR. Stability of response characteristics of a Delphi panel: Application of bootstrap data expansion. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2005;5(37): 1-12.

Skulmoski GJ, Hartman FT, Krahn J. The Delphi method for graduate research. J Inf Technol Educ. 2007;6:1-21.

Qualtrics Research Suite [Computer software]. Provo, UT: Qualtrics, LLC; 2014.

Ludwig B. Predicting the future: Have you considered using the Delphi methodology? J Extension. 1997; 25(5).

Cox MF, Osman C, Adams SG. Developing leadership skills of undergraduate engineering students: Perspectives from engineering faculty. J STEM Educ. 2010;11(3):22-33.

Williams KA, Keim KS, Johnson CA. Patterns of continuing professional education in registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104:437-441.

DeMicco FJ, Williams JA. Down-board thinking: What are our next moves? J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;99:285-286.

Pace RD. Mapping a course for the future: Dietetics leadership in the 21st century. J Am Diet Assoc. 1995;95:536-537.

Parks S. The fractured anthill: A new architecture for sustaining the future. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102:33-38.

Watson-Jarvis K. Shaping our future – Reflections on leadership and transformation: 2000 Ryley-Jeffs Memorial lecture. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2000;61: 135-138.