“Knowing is not enough”

The title of this blog post was taken from Palmer’s “A new professional: The Aims of Education Revisited”. This week’s readings really helped me connect everything we’ve been discussing in class so far, particularly Palmer’s article. I have been thinking and doing a lot of reading on whats missing particularly in Nutrition and Dietetics education and how I can help bridge that gap a future educator of Dietitians. One thing I that I came up with was having students develop a way to understand and interact with patients better, to provide better care and I thought about having students work on their empathy skills. I found and article by Rupp and Huye (see reference below) that talked about a method they used to incorporate empathy into MNT curriculum and I used that on my syllabus. One of Palmer’s five “immodest proposals”on educating the new professional is: “We must take our students ‘ emotions as seriously as we take their intellects”. Reading this made me feel pretty good about my decision to include that component in the course, but also made me realize that maybe there should be a greater emphasis.

Another thought that I had from reading Palmer’s piece related to Dietetics education was how there really isn’t any conversation about challenging the institutions which we work for. After going through a typical dietetics program, students go through an internship. During this internship, we are told to strictly follow the guidelines of the institution in which we are interning for instance a hospital. These hospitals have guidelines set up on how a dietitian should practice. They already have written how we calculate calories and fluid for a patient (although there are many different calculations). I think there is a better way to do this. I’m not advocating that students don’t follow policies, but I think they should definitely challenge them if they feel there is something better out there based on research and sound reasoning. They should be conditioned through their education to not feel too inferior to pose these questions, like I feel I missed out on during my education.


Rupp, R., & Huye, H. (2017). Using Humanities Content in a Medical Nutrition Therapy Course to Enhance Empathy in Senior Nutrition Students. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(9), A38.


3 thoughts on ““Knowing is not enough”

  1. I think you bring up an interesting point: in “the real world,” there are often very specific rules or guidelines that your institution provides you that is sort of an in-house recipe book. These recipe books can be different from one company to another, and thus are not absolutely perfect. If students feel empowered enough to bring up sound reasoning and research (as you suggest), then maybe they can help improve those protocols to better fit each unique situation. Great thoughts.


  2. Thank you for your post! I really enjoyed reading it and I appreciated how you are thinking about what gaps currently exist in your discipline and ways to incorporate these ideas into to help students improve their practice.


  3. Thanks for the post, Maryam. Yes, as you said, instead of following already established rules, students (or future professionals) should think about better ways to take care of patients if needed. They only should be creative and independent a little bit. Even trying to find better options would be better for the profession at some point.


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