Date of Award

Spring 4-16-2021

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


Preceptor, Nutrition, Dietetics, ACEND, Dietitian, Dietetic Technician


The purpose of this pragmatic mixed-methods study was to identify the factors that impact a nutrition professional’s preceptorship decision and potential solutions to combat preceptor shortages within accredited nutrition and dietetics programs. Homan’s social exchange theory provided the theoretical framework that if perceived costs of preceptorship outweigh the perceived benefits, then the activity will cease.

Phase one of the study included an online mixed-methods questionnaire. Phase two included a qualitative focus group and interview with self-identified volunteers from phase one. Quantitative analysis through SPSS included descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and inferential statistics (one-way ANOVA). Qualitative data for both phases were iteratively analyzed to determine themes which were used to supplement the quantitative data from the questionnaire.

The majority of respondents were White women, which aligns with the profession’s demographics. The main factors impacting the preceptorship decision were the self-identified desire to precept, age, serving as preceptor over the past year, awareness of available supports, openness to hosting online students, and employment status. The main challenges included time, setting, expectations, altruism, appreciation, preceptor competency, employer requirements, lack of incentives, insufficient space/support, lack of technology/references, and skills of the preceptor and student. Identified solutions included updated accreditation resources, support from employers, incentives, access to institutional databases, establishment of an ideal preceptor to student ratio, and a dietetic technician to registered dietitian pathway.

Limitations included self-selection for both phases of the study, there was a lack of diversity among the respondents, and it is unknown if membership to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics impacted the decision to precept. Recommendations for future study include questioning how Academy membership affects preceptorship decisions. Also, seeking input from people of color and men or nonbinary nutrition professionals to promote a more diverse understanding of the challenges and perceived solutions associated with being a preceptor.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.