Portfolio Introduction

Background: Irrespective of your career aims, we can assume that each of you will aim to contribute to efforts targeting achievement of optimal nutritional status: promoting health, preventing and perhaps even treating (if you have a clinical qualification) diseases in groups of individuals.  Dietary intakes directly – but variably – impact nutritional status in all: affecting immune response and response to medical therapies for example. Nutritional status assessments are used to identify people at risk of malnutrition to enable early intervention/ referral before they become malnourished or performance outcomes or morbidity/ mortality rates for example are impacted.   Whether or not you will be capturing data needed to assess nutritional status (e.g., skinfold measurements, blood chemistry or dietary intake interviews), on completion of your degree, you should all feel confident that you are able to demonstrate proficiency evaluating the potential of these methods to inform your work i.e., interpreting results (e.g., to show utility of interventions). 

Task: You are required to complete a professional skills portfolio, designed using the ABCDE framework used to structure sessions included in the module.  A series of components are required: 

1. Introduction to you (maximum 1 side A4)

As a new (almost!) graduate, you should be able to evidence competence (not expertise) in a variety of nutritional assessment skills.  You will have developed this during your course (not just this module) as well as potentially in employment/ your undergraduate degree.  Write a concise introduction to yourself (reflective of information you might include on a personal profile on your CV/ job application) highlighting this competence and showing your awareness of how and why it improves your employability. 

2. Nutritional Assessment Expertise

Four key areas (Anthropometry, Biochemistry, Clinical, Dietary) were covered in this module. Each is defined in the table 1, where a recommended reference (to initiate your reading) and some example methods are listed (more information is provided on Blackboard).  Various techniques (some of which we introduced/ covered in class, many of which we did not) are available under each umbrella term. Not all will be relevant for every situation or population subgroup, nor will they have equal validity for use in all scenarios.  Aiming to demonstrate your competence in module learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5 (see proforma on Blackboard Ultra) and ability to make the appropriate choice of nutritional assessment techniques (reflecting how this might alter within low, middle, and high-income contexts and with interpretation of results for example), for each skill area (A, B, C and D) include:

  1. An evidence-informed overview of how competence in this area will benefit you professionally (~ 400 words);
  2. A personal competence evaluation for your theoretical knowledge, data collection and data interpretation expertise using a linear scale of 1 (no experience) to 10 (expert);
  3. Details of your plans/ consideration with regard continued professional development required (or planned) to enhance your skill in each area.  In total (A, B, C and D), this section should be no more than 500 words.
  4. Include a tabulated log of experiences gained in data collection, analysis and interpretation of nutrition assessment methodologies used in collection of data (within your academic/ professional experience).  You may choose to include your competence evaluation within this summary.

Table 1: Definition of ABCD nutritional assessment skill areas with suggested reading and example methods

 AnthropometricBiochemicalClinicalDietary
DefinitionThe scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body.Relating to the chemical processes and substances which occur within living organisms.Observation and treatment of actual patients rather than theoretical or laboratory studies.Relating to or provided by diet.
Suggested readingNorton K.I. (2018) Chapter 4: Standards for Anthropometry Assessment. IN: Kinanthropometry and Exercise Physiology (pp. 68-137) DOI: 10.4324/9781315385662-4Gibson R.S. (1993). Nutritional Assessment: A Laboratory Manual. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Maqbool et al., (2008) Chapter 2: Clinical Assessment of Nutritional Status. IN: Duggan C. et al., Nutrition in Paediatrics (4th edition). Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: BC Decker Inc; 2008.DAPA Toolkit (NIHR: Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.  DAPA Measurement Toolkit website. [online]. [Date accessed]. Available from: https://dapa-toolkit.mrc.ac.uk/)  
Method examplesSkinfolds (subscapular, bicep, tricep, suprailiac) using Harpenden caliper.Blood tests (HbA1c, iron, CRP, albumin levels).Skin (e.g., generalised dermatitis could indicate deficiencies in Zinc, essential fatty acids).Prospective: 3 and 7-day diet diaries (weighed and estimated).
 Circumference (waist, hip, mid-upper arm circumference: MUAC)Urine tests (diagnostic e.g., pregnancy, and function e.g., kidney tests)Muscles (e.g., decreased mass could indicate deficiency in protein and/or calories; tenderness in calves could indicate thiamin deficiency).Retrospective: 24 hour recall, Food frequency questionnaire; diet history.

Guidance:

  • A theoretical introduction is included within the module timetable for each of these skill areas.  Use this to inspire/ guide your initial research into the relevance of that area to your career development, project plans etc.
  • Reflect following practical session covered in the module and elsewhere in your course on difficulties experienced collecting/ using the data you need and how you could overcome these issues (i.e., be reflective following each weekly session and following completion of the asynchronous recorded introductions provided, after reading directed materials etc.).
  • Consider utility of skills used alone (compared to in combination) and the impact of these decisions on subject experience, costing, environmental constraints etc.
  • Ask questions! Project supervisor, personal tutor, the module leader and/or session leads!

Submission deadline: 7th April, 1pm


 Indicators of levels of performance
 High distinction >80%Distinction (70-79%)High Merit (65–69%)Merit (60-64%)Good pass (55-59%)Pass (50-54%)Fail (<50%)Poor fail (<40%)
Introduction (15%)Detailed yet concisely written, strongly skill-linked introduction showing clear awareness of how named soft and hard (subject-specific) skills can evidence competence and ability for career goals.  Demonstrates excellent communication technique and does not over-sell ability.Concisely written, very well skill-linked introduction showing clear awareness of how named soft and hard (subject-specific) skills can evidence competence and ability for career goals.  Demonstrates very good communication technique and does not over-sell ability although in some places more clarity is needed.Demonstrates awareness of why named soft and hard (subject-specific) skills are relevant to career goals but lacks clarity with regard how you can evidence this/ link attainment to career aims.  Communication technique is okay, but in places may over-sell ability and/ or lacks clarity in places.Demonstrates limited or significant gaps in awareness of why named soft and hard (subject-specific) skills are relevant to career goals.  Communication technique is poor, may over-sell ability.  Lacks clarity with regard meaning within written information.
Evidence informed skill alignment (45%)Clearly evidenced, comprehensive and concise summary of the theoretical background detailing why the selected skills included are appropriate to career intentions.  Language is professional and convincing.  Evidences a strong scientific/ practical background, showing how the included skill integrates within relevant professional practices.  Clear acknowledgement/ address of client safety/ environmental/ financial aspects comprehensively included.Nicely evidenced summary of the theoretical background detailing why the selected skill areas are appropriate to career intentions/ target work areas. Language is professional and in the main, convincing.  Evidences a very good scientific/ practical background, showing how the included skills integrate within relevant professional practices (some gaps may be evident).  Clear acknowledgement/ address of client safety/ environmental/ financial aspects in background.Some overlap evident and/or gaps in the summary of how the theory/ appropriateness of skills included link to career intentions.  The language used is professional (some lapses may be evident) and makes a good attempt to maintain confidence in communication.  Evidences good scientific/ practical background, with generally complete linkages between included skills and professional practices.  Acknowledgement/ address of client safety/ environmental/ financial aspects included.The skills included overlap/ repeat and do not represent the ideal skill types for the stated career intentions highlighting gaps in theoretical awareness/ evaluation skills.  The language used contains regular lapses, which limits confidence in communication of how you will use skills.  Gaps in the scientific/ practical background included negatively impact demonstration of aspects including client safety/ environmental/ financial considerations.
Evaluation/ Personal development (30%)Outlines excellent depth and insight into reflection of how skills were developed, awareness of proficiency (and/or need for development), comprehensive address of practical issues with use etc. Clear review of each skills in turn, with issues specific to each explored accordingly.Outlines good depth and insight into reflection of how skills were developed, of personal proficiency (or need for development), good attempt to address of practical issues with use etc.  Each skill explored in turn with some gaps in address of issues highlighted.Outlines some (not complete) depth and insight into reflection of how skills were developed, considers (not fully) need for development to gain personal proficiency.  Some attempt to address practical issues evident.  Some evidence of skills being considered ‘together’ rather than in turn.Does not include a full reflection of how skills were developed; of the need for CPD to advance personal proficiency or to improve practice.  All entries considered together, therefore limited address of ‘skill specific’ issues.
General style of work (10%)Consistently accurate and assured use of academic conventions. Excellent professional awareness evident throughout work.  The document is presented concisely in a targeted way, reactive to personal development needs (for example). Excellent referencing/ evidencing throughout.Very good use of academic conventions. Good professional awareness evident throughout work.  The document is presented concisely in a generally well-targeted way.  Some reactivity to personal development needs (for example), though not comprehensive. Good referencing/ evidencing throughout.Academic skills generally sound. Professional awareness is evident throughout work, but there are some lapses in writing style, inclusiveness in documentation and/or presentation.  More address of personal development needs (for example) recommended. Referencing/ evidencing is okay, but needs work in places.Academic conventions evident and largely consistent, with minor weaknesses. Lack in professional awareness in aspects of the written work.  Limited use of guidance and/or formative feedback received (if sessions attended) to enable development of work. Referencing/ evidencing needs work.
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