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Education Professional law Nostrification

Education

Undergraduate Studies

To become a dietitian in Austria a 3-year Bachelor degree course has to be completed, which can be achieved at five Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria. These are located in Vienna, Linz, St. Poelten, Bad Gleichenberg and Innsbruck.
The full-time course of studies includes 180 ECTS and after completion, the title “Bachelor of Science in Health Studies” is conferred. The curriculum is based on the National Law’s (FH-MTD-AV 2006) requirements and comprises a theoretical part as well as intense practical training.

This is a small extract from the curriculum:

1st term Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, Hygiene, Chemistry, Food science, Career studies, Statistics, Conversation technique, Healthcare and economics

2nd term Food hygiene, Food law, Biochemistry, Sports nutrition, Counselling technique, Pedagogics, Sociology, Project management, Psychology

3rd term Dietetics in Gastroenterology, Surgery and Metabolic diseases

4th term Dietetics in Paediatrics, Ethics, Counselling technique, Scientific working, Medical English

5th term Dietetics in Oncology, Geriatrics, Nephrology and Intensive care, Psychology, Medical English

6th term Scientific working, Marketing, Communication and Presentation, Professional law, Business economics

The practical training involves about 32 weeks of practical setting in various areas such as hospitals, other health institutions, social services, science and industry. Within these practical placements 10 dietetic process in various different medical subjects need to be documented.
Besides the practical training and exams, 2 bachelor theses are to be prepared which are content of the final exams.
After graduation all graduates are entitled to work as dietitians in Austria, including hospitals, industry and self-employment.

For further information check the homepages of the Universities of Applied Sciences:

 

Post Graduate Studies

Master degrees can be achieved at three Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria. All courses include 120 ECTS and are completed within 2 years.

 

Life Long Learning

As a result of constant development of research in nutrition and dietetics it has become more important to keep track of the development and commit to continuous education.

The Austrian Association of Dietitians offers many seminars and courses for continual education. Find all upcoming courses here.


Professional Law

The professional law is defined in the Federal Act regulating Higher Medical-Technical Professions (MTD-Gesetz). This law also applies to other professions such as biomedical analysts, occupational therapist, physiotherapists, logopedics, orthoptics and radiological technologists. All duties concerning education, accreditation and practice of dietitians are regulated in this act. Also other obligations in dietetic practice such as documentation, continued education, confidentiality, etc. are defined in the law.
Most important is the definition of responsibilities within the dietetic process. The physician carries the responsibility to refer the patient/client to the dietitian, and then it is within the dietitian’s responsibility to carry out the nutrition therapy.

Nostrification

For information about the nostrification please check the ministry’s homepage.

Please note that applicants are required to have suffient knowledge of the German language.

History

The Austrian Association of Dietitians celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in the year 2011.

The Austrian Association of Dietitians operates since March 1961 as an independed body with a long history of legal regulations.
Due to the tireless diplomatic efforts of the Association for example the in 1992 pursued amendment of law to change the training of dietitians to a three year period as well as the formation of an own act of law (www.ktn.gv.at/8361_DE-Downloads-MTD-Gesetz) which brought the disengagement of the nursing profession.

In 2005, again through instigation of the Austrian Association of Dietitians, the occupational title of “Diaetologe” was established.

Since 2007 students can study dietetics in the newly established Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria. After 6 terms students complete their studies with a degree in “Bachelor of Science in Health Studies” which equals a European standard as “Dietitian”.

The occupational profile of the dietitian in Austria has changed greatly over the past years. This has increased the representation requirements the Austrian Association of Dietitians has. Even though the Austrian Association of Dietitians is still working in an honorary capacity today, the representation of the Austrian dietitian is carried out in a management-oriented policy.

Today the Austrian Association of Dietitians counts 900 members.


REF:
JEM September 2011- „50 Jahre Verband der Diaetologen Österreichs“
Professor Andrea Hofbauer, MSc, MBA, President of the Austrian Association of Dietitians

Membership to the Austrian Association of Dietitians

Registration fee: € 30,00

Annual fees:
Employed: € 190,00
Not employed/retirement: € 95,00
Students: € 30,00

The following services are offered:

  • The bimonthly magazine “"Diaetologen Dialog“ is sent to all members free of charge
  • Dissemination of the newest research and findings concerning nutrition and dietetics
  • Information about job offers, political occurrences concerning the profession
  • Invitation to our seminars and conferences
  • Reduced admission fees to our events
  • Regular information about new products on the market
  • International contacts to different Associations
  • The Austrian Association of Dietitians produces folders, books and brochures that can be acquired to hand out to patients and clients.

Professional profile

In Austria “dietitian” is a legally protected title, regulated by law and governed by an ethical code to ensure the highest standard of work. Dietitians are therefore legally authorised to treat diet and nutrition problems in either healthy or ill people by using practical and safe advice, based on current scientific evidence. The translation of nutrition science into understandable and customized information allows people to make better and healthier food choices.

A dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • a bachelor degree (prior to 2006 a diploma for dietetics and medical nutritional therapy),
  • the completion of a supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation,
  • a successfully passed examination administered by the Universities of Applied Sciences
  • continuous professional education to maintain the highest standard of work

In Austria the dietitian belongs to the group of the higher medical technical professions, called “MTD”. This group of health professionals includes other professions such as biomedical analysts, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, logopedics, orthoptics and radiological technologists.


Area of responsibility
Dietitians are either working freelance or employed, and the area of responsibility is wide-ranging and diversified. In general dietitians are working by medical directive, as a professional consultant to the medical team. But dietitians carry out the medical nutrition therapy on their own responsibility, advising nurses and kitchen personnel. For planning and implementing the medical nutrition therapy, dietitians use the Dietetic Process to ensure high quality and transparency of their work.
Dietitians primarily work with following medical conditions:

  • Metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity
  • Food allergy and intolerance
  • Gastroenterology and problems with the digestive system
  • Heart and thoracic diseases
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Mental health problems
  • Oncology
  • Renal diseases

Areas of working environment

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centres
  • General Practitioners’ offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Education and teaching
  • Private practice
  • The community
  • Research institutions
  • Public relations and media
  • Health related agencies
  • Food and pharmaceutical industries
  • Sport and leisure centers
  • Private health care institutions
  • Management
  • Restaurants and catering businesses

Core competencies of a dietitian
The dietitian acts as a mediator between patient – physician – nurse and hospital food services and is responsible for the assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of medical nutrition therapy according to the Dietetic Process:

 

  • Nutritional assessment: The dietitian identifies issues that have dietetic implications, by assessing dietary intake, analysing health record data and assessing height, weight and waist circumference. The results of the nutritional assessment are conclusions based on the interpretation and integration of the collected data.
  •  Planning: The establishment of realistic goals consistent with the assessment, current scientific evidence, ethical considerations, legislation and policies is an important part of planning the therapy. Objectives need to be measurable, and prioritising objectives and strategies to meet these are essential.
  • Implementation: Dietitians implement the planned therapy by communicating it to the medical team, client and appropriate others, managing the delivery of program, product and services and delegating tasks when appropriate, e.g. selection, combination, arrangement, calculation and instruction in the preparation of specific diets according to the physicians directive. A variety of strategies to meet the client’s needs is used. Resources like educational material based on latest scientific evidence, customized and practically relevant are used.
  • Monitoring: Each stage of the Dietetic Process needs to be documented.
  • Evaluation: The achievement of the planned objectives and the process should be evaluated with respect to outcomes, effectiveness, efficiency and client satisfaction. The need for further evaluation and future actions has to be determined and documented.


The dietitian cooperates within the medical – therapeutic system with following team members:
Physician

  • the dietitian follows the physicians instructions and
  • takes part in medical rounds.
  • Cooperation and discussion with the medical team regarding the physicians directive and the application of diet instructions.

Nurse:

  • Exchange of information about therapy and patient acceptance of the diet.

Food service system team:

  • Cooperation and instruction
  • Organization and controlling

Nutrition team:

  • Anamnesis of the present nutritional status
  • Evaluating and providing a concept of dietary therapy
  • Diet instruction, motivation and information
  • Observing patient acceptance of specific diets
  • Diet instruction and follow-ups including the patients` relatives.

 

 

The Dietetic Process and Professional Reasoning in Austria

The dietitian in Austria is a highly trained professional, working as a self-responsible individual to meet the dietetic challenges in an in/or out patient setting or as a freelance practitioner.

In order to achieve and demonstrate quality practice the dietitian operates within a structured method to describe and record dietetic care and uses a structured form of documentation.

This method, called the Dietetic Process, is a methodical instrument in the dietetic and nutrition therapy and results in Professional Reasoning.
It is furthermore a means of communication between dietitians and other healthcare professionals.

The area of responsibility is very diversified. The dietitian is mainly involved as a professional consultant to the medical doctor and team. The dietitian specializes in different medical areas as well as an advisor to the nursing staff and kitchen personnel.
The dietitian may also operate as a freelance or work for various health care groups.

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