Neonatal dietitian resourcing and roles in New Zealand and Australia: A survey of current practice

on behalf of the Australasian Neonatal Dietitians Network (ANDiN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Dietitian-led implementation of evidence-based nutrition support practices improves nutrient intakes, clinical outcomes and growth, decreases length of stay and related costs, and reduces intravenous nutrition costs and prescription errors. We aimed to investigate current neonatal dietitian resourcing and roles in New Zealand and Australian neonatal units, and to compare this with dietitian workforce recommendations and previously reported survey data. Methods: A two-part electronic survey was emailed to 50 Australasian Neonatal Dietitians Network members and other dietitians working in neonatal intensive care or special care baby units in New Zealand and Australia. The survey ran from July to October 2018. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the distribution of responses. Responses were compared with other similar surveys and British Dietetic Association workforce recommendations. Results: There was an 88% response rate for Part 1. Forty-eight percent of respondents had worked in neonatology for more than 5 years. Ward rounds were attended weekly or more often by 43% of respondents. One-third regularly attended neonatal conferences or grand rounds. The majority spent less than 25% of their neonatal service allocation on teaching, developing policy or research. All respondents reported their unit had written enteral feeding guidelines. The neonatal dietitian workforce is at 23% of recommended levels. Conclusions: Australasian neonatal dietitians have great potential to add value in neonatal units which has not yet been fully realised. Funding reallocation, upskilling and on-going professional development are needed to ensure the neonatal dietitian workforce is at the recommended level to be safe, sustainable and effective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2019


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