Regulation Matters 2021 - Issue 1, May

Ethics and Professionalism Adapting to Change

Workshop Summary

In this article, we reflect on what we heard from you and what we learned in our workshop sessions about Ethics and Professionalism: Adapting to Change, which took place from November 2020 to March 2021. You will also find the workshop statistics and evaluation results, including your “Ah-Ha Moments and Changes to Practice ” because of what you learned in the workshop.

We appreciated your thoughts and learning about your practice experiences in the workshop sessions. Thank you for your participation. 

At the College, we adapted to the new challenges by providing our workshops virtually this year.  The topic “adapting to change” allowed us to continue the conversation about ethics and professionalism, including discussions on the new challenges dietitians are facing during this pandemic.  We provided a 40- minute pre-recorded webinar. First, we examined the Professional Judgment Framework, then hosted 1-hour small or large group virtual sessions where you applied the framework to practice scenarios. Below is a summary of the scenario discussions shared during these sessions.

Adapting to Change During the Pandemic

Dietitians have been dealing with challenging situations due to the pandemic. We heard in your practice advisory calls and emails about how you have used your professional judgement to maintain safe, competent, and ethical practice through these new challenges.  As a result, in this year’s workshops, we decided to examine the concept of professional judgment in-depth and discuss how exercising professional judgement has helped us adapt to change in our work.  The Professional Judgment Framework, below, guided our discussions.


Redeployment – Scenario 1 & 2  

Many dietitians described their experiences with redeployment within and outside dietetics during the pandemic. The redeployment scenarios covered both those situations. We reflected on these scenarios by applying the Professional Judgment Framework and found that there were no simple answers.
In the discussions about redeployment, dietitians identified where additional knowledge and skills were required to ensure client safety in their new positions. We heard how dietitians had pulled together to share resources and training to meet client needs. They emphasized the importance of maintaining their professional obligations, such as assessing risk and considering liability insurance for new areas of practice and new tasks. They also considered legislation specific to their practice setting and organizations. We shared two essential College tools to help guide practice decisions when considering new roles and tasks:  
   You can find more  information  here.

Using Social Media – Scenario 3

In this scenario, we examined the rapidly changing world of social media in the context of supervising a student learner. Dietitians recognized the need for procedures that mitigate risk when providing education to students on social media and teach them to provide safe care to clients online. Because information online can lack tone and be misinterpreted, dietitians expressed a need for more collegial social networking and professionalism on social media. For more information, see Guidelines for Supervising Dietetic Learners.

Managing Workplace Stress – Scenario 5

In the final practice scenario, we explored interprofessional conflict and workload issues.  Reflecting on the Professional Judgment Framework, dietitians acknowledged that their professional obligations do not change with workload or under-staffing pressures, even during a pandemic. Dietitians must always act in the best interest of clients and practise safely, ethically, and competently.

While several principles were discussed, dietitians admitted that stress can negatively impact client care. To mitigate this risk, dietitians suggested creating practice wisdom circles, leaning on our colleagues, and supporting each other during times of change.
While we need many qualities as professionals, good judgement is foundational. When dealing with new or changing circumstances, we hope the Professional Judgment Framework and resources shared can be helpful to make decisions based on knowledge, client-centredness, professional obligations, and experience.

To view all of the scenarios and group discussions, please refer to the recording – Part 2: Group Discussions.

Workshop Survey Evaluation Results

  • 204 participants (24%) responded to the workshop evaluation survey.
  • 91% of respondents felt that overall, the workshop was a valuable learning experience.
  • 93% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they have a better understanding of professional judgment and 98% agreed or strongly agreed that they are aware of how they can use the professional judgment framework in practice when adapting to change.

 Workshop Statistics

Thank you to all participants. We enjoyed facilitating the workshop and are very appreciative of the discussions that took place in each session. 
From November 2020 to March 2021, we facilitated five large group sessions and 19 small group webinars.
  • 682 dietitians participated (16% of the membership), with 107 dietetic students joining, for a total of 789 participants. This number of participants is consistent with in-person workshop participation in 2019.
  • If you missed the sessions, view the recordings here.

The AH-HA Moments and Changes to Practice

Participants expressed their ‘Ah-Ha’ moments and shared changes to their practice because of attending the workshop:

“It was fantastic to hear what roles other RDs were in and how the framework applied in each different environment. It helped me absorb and apply the learnings.”

“Importance of patient-centred care and client input. During change, it is crucial to tailor education and advice to the needs and capacities of individuals, groups, and communities. This workshop definitely increased my understanding of how to consider specific needs, wants, goals of clients.”

“In any change, ethical standards of practice and professionalism do not change {updating knowledge and skills, professional obligation for public safety, client centeredness and adhering to policies and legislation).”

“How much our experience can play a role when making decisions and not only our knowledge and professional obligations but the importance of consulting with others to gather information and other experiences.”

“I recognize that within the professional judgement framework, I naturally gravitate to certain elements over others. Now that I am aware of the framework, I will ask myself more questions.”

“Remembering to go back to the framework - and to consult that other resources on the CDO site for background support.  ALSO, the reminder to have a "wise" person to consult.”

“Consult with my employer regarding the scope of practice during redeployment.”

“Use networks to support practice – practice wisdom circles.”

“Feeling more empowered to ask for help from others when dealing with challenging situations.”

“Look up information on the College site more often.”

“This helped to validate my approaches.”

“While not a drastic change to current practice, one thing it highlighted for me was the importance of practice wisdom circles, and opportunities to build on these.”

“Always double-check with my insurance provider to ensure certain tasks/jobs provide coverage and not to just assume my employer’s insurance covers me on these added tasks.”

“I found the session confirmed that I have been on the right track with professional judgement. The discussion regarding scenario 5 resonated with the work situation I have been experiencing since COVID started and staff on our team went on stress/sick leave, leaving clients being supported by the program to be shared by remaining colleagues. I collaborated with my RD colleague and manager, and as a team we are working on a plan to share workload more evenly and reduce burnout. I've used several stress management resources and techniques over the last year to prevent burnout and to bring my best self for the clients I serve each day so that fatigue will not compromise the quality of care provided.”