Ethics in Nutrition & Dietetics

Ethics in Nutrition & Dietetics

Ethics in Nutrition & Dietetics is a new 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that addresses the ethics of practice in nutrition and dietetics with the latest Code of Ethics from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Ethical practice is a requirement and a duty of all health professionals. We are in a life and death business where mistakes or misjudgments can cause real harm, such as in the case of medical errors. Being an ethical practitioner is your responsibility. Some situations seem clear cut while others are murky and may lead to more than one approach. The practice and business of nutrition and dietetics grow and change but ethical practices remain paramount regardless. Potential situations arise that require a review of what the ethical solution(s) should be. This course includes real-life scenarios so you can utilize the profession’s Code of Ethics to identify these ethical issues and come up with solutions and ways to avoid unethical behaviors.

This course satisfies the requirement of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) that RDNs and DTRs complete a minimum of 1 CPEU of Continuing Professional Education in Ethics (Learning Need Code 1050) during each 5-year recertification cycle in order to recertify. Course #11-23 | 2018 | 12 pages | 10 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

CE Information

Professional Development Resources is a CPE Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001). CPE accreditation does not constitute endorsement by CDR of provider programs or materials. Professional Development Resources is also a provider with the Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition (#50-1635) and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

 

Maintaining Boundaries in an Online World

Maintaining Boundaries in an Online World

One of the mainstays of ethical practice and effective therapeutic practice is the maintenance of clinical boundaries. Clear boundaries are necessary in order for both therapist and client to understand the nature and purpose of their relationship with each other. Boundaries in therapy distinguish psychotherapy from other types of relationships. Confusion about the therapist-client relationship can only interfere with the goals and process of psychotherapy. A client who comes to view the therapist as a friend, lover, or business associate – anything other than his or her source of professional help – is likely to have difficulty making use of the therapeutic alliance. In consideration of the implicit power imbalance that exists between therapist and client, the burden of responsibility for maintaining boundaries always falls upon the therapist.

Blurring of Roles

One of the many challenges to professional boundaries posed by participation in social networking is the fuzziness surrounding online relationships. There are actually at least two dynamics that need to be discussed here. The first is the blurring of the lines between personal and professional relationships, and the second is a phenomenon that seems to influence some individuals to self-disclose or act out more intensely online than they would in person.

The Online Disinhibition Effect

Complicating the picture further is a phenomenon that has been termed by Suler (2004) as the “online disinhibition effect.” This is essentially the observation that while online, some people self-disclose or act out more frequently or intensely than they would in person. People online tend to have a loosening of both behavioral inhibitions and boundaries. Self-disclosure in itself can be therapeutic, of course, but too much disclosure with loose boundaries can lead to toxic disinhibition and embarrassing content online. Researchers have found that three factors facilitate online disinhibition: anonymity, invisibility, and lack of eye contact (Lapidot-Lefler, 2015).

Social Hyperreality

Introducing further complexity into the equation is Borgmann’s (1984, 1992, 1999) early conceptualization of social hyperreality. He called it the device paradigm, described as “a technologically-driven tendency to conform our interactions with the world to a model of easy consumption… the way in which online social networks may subvert or displace organic social realities by allowing people to offer one another stylized versions of themselves for amorous or convivial entertainment.” I.e., the online version of a person may be very different than the person in real life.

In this light, not only do therapists and their clients have to assimilate new and startling data about each other found in online media, they also have to discern whether it represents the real person or his/her digital avatar.

The upthrust of all of this is that therapists must go to extraordinary lengths to assure that their therapeutic relationships do not devolve into something less than what is required for single-minded attention to the best interests of their clients. Even an established and carefully constructed therapy relationship can be unwittingly unraveled by a chance encounter on Facebook. Even when the therapist is mindful of professional boundaries and judicious in the use of self-disclosure, an indiscreet posting or picture on his or her social network page – when viewed by a client – can largely undo prior efforts.

Course excerpt from:

Ethics and Social MediaEthics and Social Media is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the use of Social Networking Services (SNS) on both our personal and professional lives. Is it useful or appropriate (or ethical or therapeutic) for a therapist and a client to share the kinds of information that are routinely posted on SNS like Facebook, Twitter, and others? How are psychotherapists to handle “Friending” requests from clients? What are the threats to confidentiality and therapeutic boundaries that are posed by the use of social media sites, texts, or tweets in therapist-client communication?

The purpose of this course is to offer psychotherapists the opportunity to examine their practices in regard to the use of social networking services in their professional relationships and communications. Included are ethics topics such as privacy and confidentiality, boundaries and multiple relationships, competence, the phenomenon of friending, informed consent, and record keeping. A final section offers recommendations and resources for the ethical use of social networking and the development of a practice social media policy. Course #20-75 | 2016 | 32 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Is it Ethics or Law?

Is it Ethics or Law?

In my position as chair of the Florida Psychological Association’s Ethics Committee, I frequently receive telephone calls from psychologists asking for guidance about ethical concerns. However, the majority of questions I hear actually have nothing to do with ethics, per se. Rather, they are queries about the law and psychologists often seem surprised to find that they are blending the two realms in their minds. I’ll try to clarify how to tell if a dilemma is ethics or law in this column.

Laws are rules of conduct established by a community or authority and enforceable by that entity. The underlying philosophy of the law is called jurisprudence. Certainly, it may be claimed that ethical concerns are often at the root of our laws, but ethics do not carry the power of law. In order for laws to have real meaning, a system of punishments is often established and enforced. In the United States, laws are established and enforced by federal, state, county and local governments.

Psychology’s ethical system is promulgated by The American Psychological Association. APA’s current Code of Ethics was adopted by the Council of Representatives and establishes our ethical guideposts. As stated in the code’s introduction, “The Ethics Code is intended to provide guidance for psychologists and standards of professional conduct that can be applied by the APA and by other bodies that choose to adopt them.”

What follows is 16 pages of “guidance” covering many of the ethical challenges with which psychologists must wrestle on a daily basis. The code is, quite literally, the end product of decades of work by thousands of psychologists who committed their time and energy to carefully considering the relevant issues. However, the code is not law and specifically addresses that point in its introduction by stating:

“The Ethics Code is not intended to be a basis of civil liability. Whether a psychologist has violated the Ethics Code standards does not by itself determine whether the psychologist is legally liable in a court action, whether a contract is enforceable, or whether other legal consequences occur.”

The code provides further clarification in section 1.02, Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority: “If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologists make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict. If the conflict is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority.”

Ultimately, therefore, we may obey a law that conflicts with our ethical code. However, if our ethical obligations represent a higher moral standard than the law, we are obligated to embrace that higher level. And, we are bound to consider a variety of sources of guidance, including that found in our own conscience.

The instructions continue: “In the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, psychologists must consider this Ethics Code in addition to applicable laws and psychology board regulations. In applying the Ethics Code to their professional work, psychologists may consider other materials and guidelines that have been adopted or endorsed by scientific and professional psychological organizations and the dictates of their own conscience, as well as consult with others within the field. If this Ethics Code establishes a higher standard of conduct than is required by law, psychologists must meet the higher standard.”

We are required to engage in a “process” that can be complex and not always satisfying. An example of this process may be briefly discussed relative to laws requiring psychologists to report child abuse.

What is to be done if a nearly 18 year-old patient tells you that he was abused by his stepmother when he was 12? He has had no contact with his stepmother for five years since his father divorced her and she moved to New Zealand. Therapeutically, is it in the patient’s best interests to report the abuse? If not, our ethical standards would suggest that it not be done. However, the law requires it.

Therefore, law trumps ethics. However, your consultation with peers and a personal examination of conscience may ultimately lead you to consider not making the report. Yet, to not report the incident is a violation of the law. What do you do?

Nobody said it was going to be easy.

By Stephen A. Ragusea, PsyD, ABPP

This article is one of 28 included in the 3-hour online continuing education course Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Ethics & Boundaries in PsychotherapyEthics & Boundaries in Psychotherapy is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course intended to give psychotherapists the tools they need to resolve the common and not-so-common ethical and boundary issues and dilemmas that they may expect to encounter in their everyday professional practice in the 21st century. Among the topics discussed are definitions of boundaries; resolving conflicts between ethics and the law; boundary crossings vs. boundary violations; multiple relationships; sexual misconduct; privacy and confidentiality in the age of HIPAA and the Patriot Act; ethics issues with dangerous clients; boundary issues in clinical supervision; ethics and cultural competency; ethical boundaries in use of social media; ethical practice in teletherapy; fees and financial relationships; and a 17-step model for ethical decision making. Course #30-77 | 2017 | 42 pages | 21 posttest questions

*This course satisfies the ethics & boundaries requirement for license renewal of Florida counselors, social workers & MFTs. It also includes teachings from the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics to meet the ethics requirement of West Virginia counselors.

Ethics and Law in Florida PsychologyEthics and Law in Florida Psychology is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that meets the ethics and law requirement for license renewal of Florida psychologists. The purpose of this course is to ensure that Florida-licensed psychologists are fully aware of the ethical and legal privileges and constraints under which they are licensed to practice in the State of Florida. It provides the opportunity for a comprehensive reading of the APA Code of Ethics and the three sets of statutes and rules governing the practice of psychology in Florida. Completing this course will fulfill the requirement that licensed psychologists in Florida complete each biennial renewal period three hours of continuing education on professional ethics and Florida statutes and rules affecting the practice of psychology. Case examples are included in this course for the purpose of illustrating the types of practices errors that occur in real life and their real consequences for clients. They are actual cases found in the official public records of the Florida Department of Health Division of Medical Quality Assurance. Licensing board complaints are a matter of public record. Nevertheless, the case reports outlined are included only for the purpose of illustrating the kinds of errors that occur in the practice of psychology and therefore contain no specifics like names, dates, or case numbers. Course #31-05 | 2018 | 55 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Therapists Vulnerable to Sexual Misconduct Accusations

Sexual Misconduct Accusations

Between October and November 2017, former film producer and entertainment biz executive, Harvey Weinstein achieved infamy as the poster child for sexual misconduct after more than 80 sexual misconduct allegations covering a 30-year period surfaced in a mere 30-odd days.

In the immediate aftermath of the Weinstein allegations, there was some initial victim-blaming backlash toward Weinstein’s female accusers who were perceived by some, if not many, as using Weinstein to advance their own acting careers as much as he used them for his own sexual gratification – contributory negligence vis a vis the proverbial casting couch.

In the truncated period following the watershed Weinstein unraveling, legions of powerful men in politics, media and entertainment have become targets of sexual misconduct allegations launched against them by primarily female peers, colleagues and subordinates.

The second wave of complaints erased any doubt about the unfolding epidemic reflecting nothing more than the casting couch phenomenon endemic to Hollywood glitterazzis and wannabes.

The seeds of sexual misconduct are planted in gardens of power, and the celebrity status arising in its wake, providing wrongdoers with a cloak of invincibility woven from the threads of power, status and influence – powerful men banking on the fact that they could take sexual liberties with impunity because powerful men could never be taken down by subordinate women. Who would believe them anyway?

Some of these men admitted the wrongfulness of their conduct in its entirety, others accepted partial responsibility for something resembling the complainants’ allegations, and others went into full denial mode.

The only thing that is certain is that victims of workplace sexual misconduct have the stage in this theatrical production. They are coming out in record numbers, and their stories are being believed in large measure, particularly in the face of admissions of culpability by the wrongdoers.

Emboldened and empowered, victims are willing to risk outing individuals perceived as having violated their physical and sexual boundaries.

What does this mean for those of us who practice as psychologists? First, not only are we not immune from being potential targets of sexual misconduct allegations, but our work makes us especially vulnerable in some unique but important ways.

The work of psychotherapy and assessment necessarily takes place “behind closed doors,” often in a relational context of a significant and palpable power imbalance; power dynamics that are exaggerated in the face of gender, race, ethnicity, religious, sexual orientation and ability/disability differences – particularly when the client holds one or more less powerful or more disenfranchised statuses.

Being keenly aware of these power imbalances and insuring that you don’t unwittingly capitalize on any of them is good risk management practice.

Second, many clients seek psychological services precisely because they have been victims of sexual misconduct in childhood and/or adulthood. Vulnerabilities from unhealed childhood sexual trauma can result in both increased risk of adult sexual revictimization and in sexual acting out or other provocative or overly sexualized behaviors. And, those behaviors might be directed toward the service provider by the client because it’s a hauntingly familiar albeit dysfunctional dynamic involving recapitulation of the original harm.

Perhaps more than any other field, we are in a uniquely vulnerable position working with vulnerable individuals entrusted to our care in a relationally charged power imbalance. We must ensure that our actions are not perceived as crossing sexual boundaries even in the most nuanced ways, like commenting on a client’s attractiveness or appearance. We must be IMPECCABLE with our boundaries.

While it might be a newsflash to celebrities, politicians, and high-profile media execs that sexual improprieties committed by the powerful against the disempowered are always verboten, as psychologists we have been taught to honor and respect personal and professional boundaries in our work – ethics that are codified in the APA Ethics Code and in state practice statutes.

Research on the prevalence of therapist sexual misconduct against clients is well documented. As a profession, we are not immune from perpetrating acts of sexual misconduct against those we are obligated to care for. Ethics boards regularly announce the names of suspended or otherwise sanctioned psychologists who have committed sexual and other boundary violations.

Touch, even minor seemingly innocuous touch like patting a client’s shoulder or giving a hug may be potentially misinterpreted as an unwanted action the client doesn’t feel empowered to rebuff. Again, the interpretation of touch is context dependent and is substantially influenced by age, culture, race, ethnicity, and gender.

Good therapeutic practice dictates cautious, limited, and mindful use of touch in the context of therapy and always with awareness of whose interests are being served by the touch.

While therapy and assessment clients and their family members are potential victims of sexual assault, best practices include being mindful and aware of any comments, actions or behaviors that might cross physical or sexual boundaries or might make colleagues, students, mentees or staff feel uncomfortable because of their sexualized nature.

Organizational climate is a significant predictor of sexual harassment. Strive to create a safe space for employees, colleagues, and clients. Prudence would suggest sexual harassment education and the development of sexual harassment policies and practices if you work in an organizational or other institutional setting. If not, develop your own policy and guidelines for a sexual harassment free workplace. There are HR consultants and risk management resources available online to assist in that process if you work as a solo practitioner and don’t have organizational resources available.

To be meaningful in practice, sexual harassment prevention policies need to identify an individual to whom sexual misconduct allegations can be reported – ideally someone in a neutral position, not someone perceived to be aligned with the power hierarchy in an organization.

A process for investigating and responding to any sexual misconduct complaints needs to be in place. In the event that someone in the workplace is found to have engaged in sexual misconduct, corrective actions must follow or the policies and other practices are moot.

Being mindful, aware, and having impeccable boundaries, along with developing effective polices, practices and education are keys to successful risk management.

Therapy Tidbits – March/April 2018Course excerpt from Therapy Tidbits – March/April 2018 – a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course comprised of select articles from the March/April 2018 issue of The National Psychologist, a private, independent bi-monthly newspaper intended to keep psychologists (and other mental health professionals) informed about practice issues. Click here to learn more.

This online CE course is sponsored by:

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Ethics CEU Course for SLPs

New Online ASHA-Approved CEU Course @pdresources.org

Ethics for SLPsEthics for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines ethical issues that Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists may encounter in clinical practice.

Ethical decision-making is based on awareness, intent, judgment, and behavior. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) or audiologist must be aware that an issue has ethical significance. Then a judgment must be made with the intent to make the ethically correct decision, and action taken. Ethics is about deliberate decisions made to benefit the people involved or to have the least harmful repercussions if a positive outcome is not possible.

SLPs and audiologists encounter ethical issues across the spectrum of practice settings, from pediatric treatment to care of elders in skilled nursing facilities. This course will present an overview of ethical issues that arise in speech-language pathology and audiology practice, including barriers to ethical thinking, evidence-based ethics, economics, discrimination, abuse, bullying in the workplace, boundaries, confidentiality, social media, and infection control. Updates on the Codes of Ethics are included and discussed. Course #21-20 | 2018 | 37 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

ASHA-Approved ProviderThis course is offered for .2 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional area).

ASHA credit expires 12/24/2020. ASHA CEUs are awarded by the ASHA CE Registry upon receipt of the quarterly completion report from the ASHA Approved CE Provider (#AAUM). Please note that the date that appears on ASHA transcripts is the last day of the quarter in which the course was completed. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635). AAUM5138

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more.

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Retiring Ethically From Clinical Practice

Course excerpt from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8

retiringRetiring is a huge step, professionally, financially and personally. It requires thought, reflection and planning. Like starting our careers, for the most part the decision to retire should both make sense and feel right. It should ideally be a decision of the head and the heart.

The professional aspects include preparing ourselves emotionally, preparing our clients and getting numerous ducks in a row. Once we have decided to retire and feel confident it is right for us, we need to address these aspects.

Preparing Ourselves Emotionally

This might not sound like much because we have decided it is in our best interest to do so in many cases. If the decision is based on outside forces, like the needs of a spouse or an illness, then we may have other emotional work to do.

However the decision is made, we must confront two issues, the loss of professional identity and letting our clients down or at least losing those relationships with people for whom we have cared. It is best to work through these issues before sharing our decision with our clients. We have spent our professional lives taking care of our clients and we are about to tell them we are no longer going to do that.

We need to confront our own losses so we can better deal with our clients and their loss. We need to take care of ourselves before we take care of them. A therapist, a supervisor or a peer group are helpful venues for this process. We can talk it out, address our feelings and concerns and prepare ourselves for client reactions, such as anger, disappointment, or worse yet, no reaction. (Maybe they are glad or relieved we are going.)

Preparing our Clients

The APA Ethical Principles (Standard 10.10 (c) Terminating Therapy) requires that we provide pretermination counseling for our clients when ending treatment. Part of our retirement plan should include a timeline for telling clients because some may need more time than others to address termination issues.

For me it was important that clients hear it from me and not anyone else. I gave a few clients six months’ notice and one client even more because a new, serious issue had arisen and I didn’t think it could be addressed in the time left. I informed the client of my plans and gave the client the choice of working with me until I retired or start this new issue with someone else.

I then took one month to inform the rest of my clients, so everyone had at least three months’ notice. This gave us time to wrap up some issues, review our work together and plan for additional treatment, either immediately or in the future.

It was helpful to me to write a letter to give to my clients at our last session. It included a personal note as well as the names of three professionals whom they could contact for treatment. I placed a copy of the letter in their files.

(I transitioned some clients with the new therapists and wrote letters to the colleagues I had listed letting them know of my retirement and that some clients may contact them for treatment. I included information on how to contact me, along with blank Release of Information Authorizations.)

Getting Ducks in a Row

This includes things ranging from moving out of our office, stopping or changing services such as liability insurance, professional memberships, phone, internet, ads and websites and notifying collaborating professionals. Ethically, and in many cases, legally, it includes record keeping issues. APA Ethical Principle (Standard 6.01 Documentation of Professional and Scientific Work and Maintenance of Records) requires that we maintain records in such a way that they can be used by additional therapists to ensure continuity of care and we must securely store our files and keep them for a time specified in state regulations.

We must also adhere to state regulations regarding the closure of a practice. For example, in New Jersey we must place an ad in an appropriate newspaper once a month for three months, starting with the first month after we have closed our practice. The ad must include information about where clients may contact us if they want their records.

Finally, with all the tasks and changes surrounding retirement we should make sure we have revised our professional wills. The revised will should include how to access our records with instructions for their appropriate and timely disposal. Once the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed, enjoy!

Click here to learn more.

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. Course #30-99 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Why Therapists Need Ethics

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT @pdresources.org

EthicsThere is a good reason that ethics is a required component of our continuing education for license renewal. Ethics alone can be grounds for losing your license. It can also be grounds for a lawsuit. And more often than not, it is the source of client harm – even when it is not meant to be.

A therapist who means well but doesn’t fully understand client privilege or confidentiality can harm a client just as much as therapist who simply ignores ethical protocol. Today, with the explosion of social media, it has become even more difficult to decipher the difference. For example, let’s say a therapist runs groups for a treatment facility and happens to post on Facebook about a particularly challenging group session, tagging her workplace in her post. While one could argue that she meant no harm, she has exposed the identity of the clients in the group because she identified the facility in which she works.

This becomes even more important because today many therapists work in a variety of capacities – even virtually. Let’s say, for example, that a therapist becomes well known in a particular subject area and is now asked to give radio interviews about his subject matter. What is the ethical protocol here? Or, perhaps the same therapist is asked to create webinars on his area of expertise. Can he reference places that he has worked in the past? Can he mention clients he has worked with if he alters their names? What if he is asked to write a book on the subject? What ethical measures should he take then?

Ethics, as you can see, is no less important to the seasoned therapist than the new one, and in many ways, it is actually more important. With more experience comes more opportunity and with more opportunity comes more risk.

This is risk that can easily be avoided with a thorough understanding of ethics that are relevant to today’s therapist. Through learning about topics such as managing negative online reviews, taking on supervisees, being asked to write letters for clients who seek to have Emotional Service Animals, conducting group treatment, managing a social media profile, creating cloud storage for notes, purchasing liability insurance, correcting records, closing a practice, giving professional commentary on public figures, and doing media presentations, therapists can enjoy a wide variety of working capacities in a safe and ethical way.

So where do therapists go to find this information? Professional Development Resources, an accredited provider of online continuing education courses, offers ethics courses for psychologists, counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists (MFTs), occupational therapists (OTs), speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and registered dietitians (RDs). Click here to learn more.

Online Ethics Continuing Education Courses:

Ethics & Boundaries in Psychotherapy is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course intended to give psychotherapists the tools they need to resolve the common and not-so-common ethical and boundary issues and dilemmas that they may expect to encounter in their everyday professional practice in the 21st century. Among the topics discussed are definitions of boundaries; resolving conflicts between ethics and the law; boundary crossings vs. boundary violations; multiple relationships; sexual misconduct; privacy and confidentiality in the age of HIPAA and the Patriot Act; ethics issues with dangerous clients; boundary issues in clinical supervision; ethics and cultural competency; ethical boundaries in use of social media; ethical practice in teletherapy; fees and financial relationships; and a 17-step model for ethical decision making. *This course satisfies the ethics & boundaries requirement for license renewal of Florida counselors, social workers & MFTs. It also include teachings from the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics to meet the ethics requirement of West Virginia counselors. Course #30-77 | 2017 | 42 pages | 21 posttest questions

Ethics and Social Media is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the use of Social Networking Services (SNS) on both our personal and professional lives. Is it useful or appropriate (or ethical or therapeutic) for a therapist and a client to share the kinds of information that are routinely posted on SNS like Facebook, Twitter, and others? How are psychotherapists to handle “Friending” requests from clients? What are the threats to confidentiality and therapeutic boundaries that are posed by the use of social media sites, texts, or tweets in therapist-client communication? The purpose of this course is to offer psychotherapists the opportunity to examine their practices in regard to the use of social networking services in their professional relationships and communications. Included are ethics topics such as privacy and confidentiality, boundaries and multiple relationships, competence, the phenomenon of friending, informed consent, and record keeping. A final section offers recommendations and resources for the ethical use of social networking and the development of a practice social media policy. Course #20-75 | 2016 | 32 pages | 15 posttest questions

Ethics for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that presents an overview of ethical issues that arise in speech-language pathology and audiology practice. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists encounter ethical issues across the spectrum of practice settings, from pediatric treatment to care of elders in skilled nursing facilities. This course will discuss barriers to ethical thinking, evidence-based ethics, economics, discrimination, abuse, bullying in the workplace, boundaries, confidentiality, social media, and infection control. Course #21-04 | 2015 | 30 pages | 15 posttest questions

Ethics for Occupational Therapists is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that teaches OTs how to handle ethical and moral dilemmas in practice. Ethical and moral issues pervade our lives, especially in the healthcare arena. Occupational therapists are frequently confronted with a variety of ethical and moral dilemmas, and their decisions can have long-range effects both professionally and personally. Why does one decision win out over another? What does the decision process involve? How do these decisions impact those involved? Occupational therapists, by the nature of choosing this particular profession, are engaged in an “ethic of care,” where activities of daily living are not just a function, but also an expression of values. Helping people maintain their maximum possible functioning is seen in relation to society and the common good of all persons. This is an abstract ideal that must be put into practice in an imperfect world. How does the occupational therapist make decisions about what is best for the person when there are difficult choices to make? This course will address these questions from the framework of ethical decision models and the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Code of Ethics. Course #30-89 | 2016 | 43 pages | 20 posttest questions

Ethics for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU/CPEU) course that addresses the ethics of practice in nutrition and dietetics and satisfies the requirement of the Commission on Dietetic Registration that RDs and DTRs complete a minimum of 1 CPEU of Continuing Professional Education in Ethics (Learning Need Code 1050) during each 5-year recertification cycle. The practice and business of nutrition and dietetics grow and change but ethical practices remain paramount regardless. Potential situations arise that require a review of what the ethical solution(s) should be. This course includes real-life scenarios so you can utilize the profession’s Code of Ethics to identify these ethical issues and come up with solutions and ways to avoid unethical behaviors. Course #10-60 | 2014 | 10 pages | 7 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Ghosting May Create Ethics Issue

Course excerpt from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8

In June, 2015, The New York Times published a story highlighting Charlize Theron’s decision to dump Sean Penn by suddenly refusing to respond to his texts. This widely shared article drew attention to the disappearing act known as “ghosting,” which also surfaces as a frequent topic in psychotherapy.

Rejection is painful, no matter how you slice it. The digital age has made it easy to reject someone without engaging in a direct conversation. This passive-aggressive strategy leaves jilted individuals longing for information and wondering what went wrong.

ghosting therapistIn addition to its role in terminating relationships, ghosting is also an unfortunate strategy for ending therapy. While not the norm, ghosting a therapist is an under-discussed phenomenon. Most, if not all, clinicians have experienced a client who calls to cancel a session, states intent to reschedule and then disappears. Equally unfortunate is the client who does not show up for a session, does not respond to attempts to follow up and is never heard from again.

It is much easier to ghost a therapist than it is to ghost a suitor.

Therapists are usually trained and ethically obligated to follow up once or twice, but anything more can constitute a violation of the client’s privacy. Most professions in the psychotherapy field have some ethical guideline stating the professional’s obligation to know who is currently in therapy and who has ended. Clinicians should consider difficult questions, such as whether a client is still in therapy if he or she does not show up for a session, does not return a clinician’s follow-up call and then weeks later causes life-threatening harm for himself or herself or another person.

To this end, it is ethically prudent for therapists to request that clients sign a “termination agreement” when the clinical relationship begins. Without such an agreement, therapists can unknowingly continue certain ethical responsibilities to clients long after the therapist has been ghosted. The agreement I use with clients explains: “Clients who have not had a session in over 30 days (or within a mutually agreed upon time) will be considered inactive…. It is always preferable to have a final session before ending therapy in order to review and evaluate the sessions and assess overall progress. Please be fully assured that anyone wishing to return to active therapy can do so by contacting me to make arrangements to resume the therapeutic relationship.”

In concert with this ethical principle, I emphasize the importance of goodbyes and let clients know that I will respect decisions to end therapy. I make a deliberate effort to understand the urge to end without saying goodbye, and I encourage clients to schedule a final session to evaluate our work before they terminate. It was not until I read about it in The New York Times that I learned the term ghosting – and I’m glad to discover that such a suitable term for this troubling phenomenon has entered the public lexicon.

Interestingly, when clients open up about how much it hurts to be ghosted, they can often recall several stories in which they have ghosted others. Many times, they don’t realize that they have ghosted others until I ask. Even more relevant, such experiences often relate to primary formative relationships. These earlier experiences are usually more meaningful and worthy of exploration than trying to over-analyze the motivations of a random “match” on Tinder who seemed great until he or she became a ghost.

Our society shies away from endings. They are awkward and uncomfortable and it is easier than ever to avoid them all together. The same client who speaks of how much it hurts to be ghosted will describe skipping a friend’s going-away party, or convincing an employer to not plan a departure celebration so that they can move to a new job without saying a proper goodbye to co-workers that have been a significant part of their lives for years.

Each ending is an excellent opportunity for emotional growth. The passive-aggressive act of ghosting represents a missed emotional opportunity. Concluding a relationship with the respect it deserves demonstrates the ability to own and articulate an independent decision. Therapists who are willing to emphasize endings with clients are using the clinical relationship to help clients practice more adaptive relational patterns while simultaneously attending to important ethical obligations.

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Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. Course #30-99 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

New Ethics & Risk Management CE Course

New Online CE Course @pdresources.org

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of really interesting ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. Topics include:

Can Confidentiality be Maintained in Group Therapy? – Discusses ethical issues involved in conducting group psychotherapy.

A Short Course on Encryption and Cloud Storage – Provides answers to common questions about encryption, cloud storage, confidentiality, and HIPAA.

Retiring Ethically – Reviews the professional aspects of preparing for retirement and the various tasks and challenges involved.

Coping with Disruptions in Practice Due to Death or Disability – Shares two stories of a practice lost to sudden death, and the steps you can take to prepare for unexpected disruptions.

Informed Consent: Ethical Challenges and Opportunities – Provides an overview of the ethical obligations related to informed consent and outlines three ethical challenges.

Ethical Practice and the Challenge of Vicarious Trauma – Examines how vicarious exposure to traumatic material can dramatically impact clinicians both personally and professionally.

Competence for Execution: the Ethical Binds – Summarizes the complex issues involved in determining if a person is competent for execution.

Sorting through Professional Liability Insurance for Needed Coverage – Offers guidance and considerations for choosing between Occurrence Form Coverage and Claims Made Coverage.
Closing a Practice: Practical, Ethical and Clinical Dimensions – Reviews the tasks and challenges involved in terminating a psychotherapy practice.

Is it Ethics or Law? – Discusses the similarities and differences between ethics and law, and what to do when they conflict.

21st Century Changes Ethics for Private Practice – Shares personal experiences dealing with security breaches and offers guidelines for using technology in your own practice.

Ethical Considerations for Clinical Supervisors – Examines the impact of supervision on supervisees and their clients, including competence, clinical oversight, and informed consent.

Correcting vs. Altering Records – Discusses the importance of keeping good treatment records and offers guidance for what to do (and not to do) when needing to make a correction to your records.

Ethical Considerations for Media Presentations – Offers considerations to keep in mind when using the media for professional purposes (the article focuses on radio and television, but can also be applied to the internet).

‘Ghosting’ May Create Ethics Issue – Discusses the passive-aggressive strategy of “ghosting” and offers guidance for what to do when it happens to you, the therapist.

Reducing Risk in Treating Divorcing Families – Provides an overview of several risk management practices for therapists who work with divorced or divorcing families, particularly the children of divorcing families.

Who Let that Doggie on the Airplane? – Examines the growing trend of Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and what to do when you are asked to provide an ESA support letter.

Informed Consent: Records and Fees – Highlights areas of the treatment relationship and issues related to informed consent in the areas of providing records when requested and in establishing fees.

Cloud-Based File-Sharing Can be HIPAA Secure – Shares several options for storing and sharing information securely through the cloud, so therapists no longer have to rely on the burdensome methods of faxing or sending patient documents via proprietary networks.

Social Media and Ethics – Offers guidance to help clinicians engage in meaningful self-reflection prior to engaging in social media for the purpose of preventing ethical breaches.

Therapists Must Keep Pace as Technology Changes Practice – Discusses the change in the method of creating and maintaining patient files, evidenced by the increased use of electronic records, and the areas of concern involved.

Ethical Ways to Counteract Negative Reviews Online – Explains how to manage your online reputation, including what you can ethically do if you receive a negative review – real or not.

The Wounded Psychologist: Adverse Effects from a Licensing Complaint – Explains why licensing boards were created, how licensing board complaints are dealt with, and the negative effects of complaints on clinicians.

Disclosures for Forensic Evaluations – Discusses the requirements for disclosure in forensic evaluations.

Reimbursement Diagnoses may be Co-Morbid 
– Reviews the ethical, legal and professional challenges of balancing concern for diagnostic work with insurance reimbursement issues.

Giving Professional Commentary on Public Figures – Offers advice on what you can or shouldn’t say when asked to comment on public figures.

Managing Risk with Alcohol-Abusing Clients – Provides guidance on developing a dual-purposed informed consent agreement with working with special populations such as alcoholics or those characterized by high risk (e.g., suicidal or borderline personality disorder) behaviors.

Direct Secure Messaging is Best Electronic Option for Mental Health Records – Discusses use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), concerns about the potential unrestricted flow of Protected Health Information (PHI), and how Direct Secure Messaging (DSM) can help.

Course #30-99 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions


Click here to learn more.

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is an online course that provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

Ethics for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

Online CE Course @pdresources.org

Ethics for RDNsEthics for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU/CPEU) course that addresses the ethics of practice in nutrition and dietetics and satisfies the requirement of the Commission on Dietetic Registration that RDs and DTRs complete a minimum of 1 CPEU of Continuing Professional Education in Ethics (Learning Need Code 1050) during each 5-year recertification cycle. The practice and business of nutrition and dietetics grow and change but ethical practices remain paramount regardless. Potential situations arise that require a review of what the ethical solution(s) should be. This course includes real-life scenarios so you can utilize the profession’s Code of Ethics to identify these ethical issues and come up with solutions and ways to avoid unethical behaviors. Course #10-60 | 2014 | 10 pages | 7 posttest questions

Why an Ethics Course?

Do you need to disclose that a food company is paying you to write a blog? What should be added to your tweet if you’re tweeting on behalf of a client or sponsor? Could your tweet be considered misleading by the Federal Trade Commission? If you sell supplements and make money from them, must you disclose this financial incentive to your patients/clients? This course addresses the ethics of practice in nutrition and dietetics in today’s world. The practice and business of nutrition and dietetics grow and change but ethical practices remain paramount regardless. Potential situations arise that require a review of what the ethical solution(s) should be. Real scenarios are included so you can think about potential ethical issues. Utilize the profession’s Code of Ethics to identify these ethical issues and come up with solutions and ways to avoid unethical behaviors.  

The Ethics Requirement for Recertification:

Responding to a recommendation from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Board of Directors, the Commission on Dietetic Registration voted to require that RDs and DTRs complete a minimum of 1 CPEU of Continuing Professional Education in Ethics (Learning Need Code 1050) during each 5-year recertification cycle in order to recertify. This requirement will be effective starting with the 5-year recertification cycle which ends on May 31, 2017, and will be phased in over a 5-year period for each recertification cycle.

How Do Online Courses Work?

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.

CE Information:

Professional Development Resources is a CPE Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001). CPE accreditation does not constitute endorsement by CDR of provider programs or materials. Professional Development Resources is also a provider with the Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition (#50-1635) and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within 1 week of completion).

 

About the Authors:

Catherine Christie, PhD, RDN, LDN, FADA, FAND, is Vice President of Professional Development Resources. She is a Past President of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cathy is co-author of four books including The Latino Food Lover’s Glossary, Fat is Not Your Fate, Eat to Stay Young and I’d Kill for a Cookie. Dr. Christie is also Editor of the Manual of Medical Nutrition Therapy. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Fellow of the Preventative Cardiovascular Nurses Association and Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Christie earned her PhD from Florida State University and served for six years as the Chairman of the Dietetics and Nutrition Council, which regulates the nutrition profession in the state of Florida. Dr. Christie is the recipient of several awards and/or certifications including Florida’s Distinguished Dietitian, Florida Dietetic Association Outstanding Service Award, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award, and the Excellence in Practice Award for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Susan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, LDN, FAND, is a nutrition consultant in digital and traditional media and communicates evidence-based health messages thru social media, radio, TV, video, and print. She also provides continuing education for health professionals through speaking, webinars and written articles/courses. Along with Dr. Christie, Dr. Mitchell is co-author of three books, Fat is Not Your Fate, I’d Kill for a Cookie, and Eat to Stay Young and is a contributing author to Macmillan Reference USA’s Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Distinguished Florida Dietitian, Dr. Mitchell earned her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and taught nutrition and health science at the University of Central Florida for over 8 years. She serves on the University of North Florida’s Department of Nutrition & Dietetics Advisory Committee and the advisory board of Family Circle magazine. Drs. Christie and Mitchell have taught the Preventing Medical Errors in Dietetics Practice 2-hour course for over six years at the annual Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics meeting.

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