Development of Financial Management Competences for Entry Level and Advanced Level Dietitians



The major purposes in this study were to develop a list of financial management competencies for entry- and advanced-level dietitians, determine hospital foodservice directors'/chief dietitians' (practitioners) perceived importance of these competencies at both levels of practice, and determine educators' perceived importance of these competencies at the entry level. Drawing from the literature and the judgment of eight experts, we developed a list of 50 financial management competencies. Written questionnaires that included importance scales for the competencies were mailed to (a) practitioners in a random sample of 1,500 member hospitals of the American Hospital Association and (b) directors of Plan IV/V, Approved Preprofessional Practice, and Dietetic Internship programs. Response rates were 34% for the practitioners and 47% for the educators. Practitioners rated 8 competencies as important or very important for entry-level dietitians and 26 as important or very important for advanced-level dietitians. Practitioners rated all competencies higher for advanced-level dietitians than for those at the entry level, and educators rated all competencies higher than did practitioners. Content areas, identified by factor analysis, were similar for both levels of practice. Our findings indicate that emphasis in undergraduate and practice programs should be given to the eight competencies identified by practitioners and educators as most important. Our results also may be used for development and evaluation of graduate and continuing education programs and for specialty certification in foodservice management.