Society for Nutrition Education, The Journal of Nutrition Education reviewed the first edition of Untangling the Nutrition Web in Career Development in 1996.
The revision in 1999 expanded the focus of the book to include all of the United States, lengthened the worksheet section considerably and expanded the resource section to include many internet addresses. Untangling the Nutrition Web in Career Development. Ernst JA, 1996. From SNE Metro DC Affiliate, 25 pp, booklet.
This booklet is designed to help food, nutrition, and health professionals think about managing, building, developing, or even changing their nutrition-related career. The personal side of career development is addressed: understanding yourself, understanding your alternatives, and making appropriate career choices.
This booklet’s introduction, written by Dr. Caroline Manuele Adkins, Professor and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Guidance and Counseling at Hunter college, City University of New York, stresses the importance of viewing career choices as part of a process of lifelong development. Career development stages are identified and appropriate questions asked to help the reader determine where they are on this continuum. Dr. Adkins also discusses the importance of paying close attention to external influences and working to remove internal barriers when planning your career.
In the section titled “Understanding Yourself,” Ernst takes readers through the process of identifying their skills, abilities, and interests. Definitions and examples of each, as well as a worksheet, are provided to get readers started. A detailed and very useful chart titled “Nutrition Careers Expanded” comprises the bulk of the section titled “Understanding Your Alternative.” Fifteen job categories are identified in this chart, with possible job areas, specific employers in the Metro Washington, DC area, and skills/interests listed for each category. The chart presents a brainstorm of ideas for expanding your career in nontraditional areas. In the section titled “Making Appropriate choices,” Ernst discusses specific issues that readers will face as they go through the decision-making process.
The strengths of this booklet include its organization, with frequent use of subheadings and tables to enhance readability. The worksheets at the end are particularly useful in prompting the reader to summarize what they have learned about themselves, their work values, and their options. A checklist at the bottom of the worksheet provides ideas for the”next step,” in order to keep readers motivated to continue the career development process. The author appropriately includes advice from five “nontraditional nutritionists.” Although this section is brief and many tips are common sense, it does illustrate the fact that building a career is a very complex process that takes time.
The booklet is very timely in view of the restructuring of the health care industry and the consensus at the 1994 American Dietetic Association (ADA) Future Search conference that the future role of the dietetics professional will require cross-training and work in nontraditional roles. In fact, a section titled “Future Trends in Dietetics” identifies many factors that may influence the dietetics profession in the coming years.
The intended audience for this booklet is “anyone building a career in food, nutrition and health,” whether or not they live near Washington, DC. Although specific employers in the Metro DC area are included in the table “Nutrition and Health Careers Expanded,” the bulk of this booklet would be useful to those outside of that geographic area. The list of potential employers in Metro DC should spark readers to identify similar types of employers in their own geographic area. The section titled “Resources for Finding Jobs” is very brief, tends to focus on the Metro DC area, and could be expanded to increase its usefulness to the reader. In fact, only one Internet address is included. The title of the booklet, “Untangling the Nutrition Web in Career Development,” tends to be misleading and may suggest to some that the focus is on use of the World Wide Web or Internet in career development.
This useful booklet will be a valuable resource for food and nutrition professionals wanting to begin the process of career development. It requires readers to answer difficult questions about themselves and prompts them to begin the process. In addition, it provides new ideas for those wishing to expand their skills through cross-training and consideration of nontraditional roles, an invaluable concept when addressing the future role of the dietetics professional.
Lynette M. Karls, MS, RD, CD, Faculty Associate; Director -Coordinator Undergraduate Program in Dietetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Nutritional Sciences, 1415 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706