Paper Authors and Title

Jordan Carty and Liam Clarke (Atlantic Technological University), Catherine McHugh, Laura Keaver, “Self-perceived nutrition competency and nutrition knowledge in medical students in Sligo University Hospital”


Medical Students (MS) should have confidence in nutrition knowledge (NK) given its vital role in disease prevention and management. Despite physicians being perceived as nutrition experts by the public, 90% lack confidence in providing nutritional advice. Additionally, over 70% of MS receive <2 hours of nutrition education. This study examines attitudes and knowledge about nutrition advice among Irish MS using the validated NUTCOMP Tool (NT) and General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (GNKQ). The cohort (n=28) were mostly females (60%) under 24 years old (85.7%). Chi-squared Tests and Pearson’s Correlation Tests were used to determine the relationship between MS NK and their confidence in providing nutritional care.

Mean (SD) scores for knowledge of expert nutrition advice, food groups, healthy food choices and health problems related to diet and weight management of the GNKQ were 66.49%±28.91%, 69.92%±27.15%, 74.75%±16.55%, 76.43%±20.89% respectively. Mean (SD) scored for NT which examined confidence in nutrition knowledge and chronic-disease, nutrition skills, nutrition-counselling, and attitudes towards nutrition were 34%±9%, 44%±9%, 22%±4%, and 40%±5% respectively. The low results achieved in the NT display a lack of confidence in NK.

Significant relationships (SR) were found between MS confidence in expert advice and NK (p=0.01, R=0.037). SR were found between MS nutritional confidence and healthy food choices (p=0.001, R= 0.002). Results show that MS lack NK which may reduce confidence in providing nutritional care. SR (p<0.05) between aspects of MS confidence measured by the NT and NK measured by GNKQ were discovered.

Mandatory nutrition modules may help improve MS nutrition knowledge and confidence.