The changing role of the clinical dietitian has resulted in evaluation and identification of the appropriate role for the clinical dietetic technician. In 1981 the American Dietetic Association published the Role Delineation for Entry Level Clinical Dietetics including the responsibilities for the clinical dietetic technician practice level. Research comparing actual role performance of clinical dietetic technicians to the role defined in the delineation study was not found in a review of the literature.

This research was conducted to verify the degree to which clinical dietetic technicians are performing tasks identified for their role and to identify educational deficiencies and/or excesses. Telephone and mail questionnaires were utilized to obtain data from ADA clinical dietetic technician members selected by systematic random sampling from the ADA listing of 914 technician members. Responsibilities outlined in the ADA role delineation study were the basis for the tasks utilized in the questionnaire.

The mean percentage of ADA role delineated tasks performed indicated agreement between the defined role and actual performance of clinical dietetic technicians.

Educational deficiencies noted in nutritional care programs were in providing instruction on quality assurance, preparation for interaction with health professionals, and the amount of practical clinical experience provided.

Clinical dietetic technicians perceive their role as supportive of the clinical dietitian. A lack of awareness of the level of technician training and competencies was reported as limiting the dietitians delegation of tasks to technicians.

Analysis of descriptive data obtained provided a profile of ADA technician membership indicating that 35.6 percent of technicians are in a clinical role, 19.1 percent in a food service management role, 31.8 percent in a combined role, and 13.4 percent not employed or working outside the area of dietetics. A significant number of technicians were found to be employed outside their area of training specialization.

Findings from the research indicate that; 1) the practical experience in nutritional care programs should be strengthened, 2) the ADA role delineation for clinical practice should be promoted for implementation by dietitians, and 3) the feasibility of developing a curriculum for technician training which would include both nutritional care and food service management should be explored.




Graduate School

First Advisor

Kathleen Zolber

Second Advisor

David Abbey

Third Advisor

Kenneth Burke

Fourth Advisor

Bert Connell

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Dietetics -- manpower; Role; Dietary Services -- manpower



Page Count

iii; 137

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives