Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Jane R. Savage

Committee Members

Irsahd Ahmad, Mary Rose Gram


(From the Introduction): The importance of modified diets in the treatment of diseases was recognized centuries ago by the ancient Greek and Roman physicians. Today, the physician, nurse, and dietitian work as a team sharing the responsibility for the dietary component of patient care. Each brings to this responsibility his own professional functions learned as a part of his professional training.

For the past several years many people have voiced their concern about the amount and quality of nutrition and diet therapy education received by all paramedical personnel. This concern was stated at the 1969 White House conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health. The problem has also been brought before the United States Senate, and there have been numerous papers in professional journals on this subject. From the commencement of nursing schools in this country, the public has assumed that an understanding of modified diets is an integral part of the nurse's professional qualifications. What about today? Many feel the dietetic profession has assumed the responsibility for nutrition and diet therapy education. Does today's nurse have diet therapy responsibilities? If so, what are her responsibilities? Does this responsibility vary according to the type of program from which she graduated? If so, does the diet therapy education need to be adjusted accordingly? These are a few of the questions being asked today.

As stated in 1970 by the National Commission of the Study of Nursing and Nursing Education (1), there is increased need for research into both the practice of nursing and the education of nurses. It is the purpose of this study to attempt to determine the actual amount and depth of diet instruction given by registered nurses today in seven states. And, from this information determine the actual diet therapy educational needs of registered nurses and develop core course outlines to be used in teaching diet therapy in nursing schools.

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Nutrition Commons