Supporting dietitians to work in Aboriginal health: Qualitative evaluation of a Community of Practice mentoring circle

Annabelle M. Wilson, Robyn Delbridge, Claire Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: This paper explores the experience of dietitians participating in a Community of Practice designed to support their work with Aboriginal communities. Methods: The Community of Practice for dietitians working with Aboriginal communities ran for 12 months, starting in May 2014. Six-weekly mentoring sessions were held using Skype, with conversation aided by a facilitator. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were held with all participants at the conclusion of the Community of Practice. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Thirteen dietitians participated in the Community of Practice and an in-depth, semi-structured interview. Four key themes were identified: (i) Aboriginal health practice requires a different way of 'knowing', 'being' and 'working'; (ii) Community of Practice is a safe place to discuss, debrief and explore ideas that are not safe elsewhere; (iii) participation in Community of Practice contributed to workforce retention in the Aboriginal health sector; and (iv) participation in Community of Practice contributed to dietitians changing their practice and feeling confident to do so. Conclusions: By increasing confidence and opportunities for safe discussion, Community of Practice appears to be a useful model of Continuing Professional Development to support dietitians working in Aboriginal health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-494
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Aboriginal
  • Community of Practice
  • Dietitian
  • Health
  • Indigenous
  • Mentoring

Cite this