Aim: To assess consensus among public health nutrition (PHN) workforce development stakeholders on the
competencies required for effective PHN practice in the Australian workforce context.
Methods: A modified Delphi study involving two iterative survey rounds among an expert panel of 33 Australian
PHN workforce development stakeholders. Surveys tested panellist ratings (essential, useful, irrelevant) of a listing
of 143 competency elements derived from the literature and existing competency standards, across two survey
rounds, with feedback between rounds. An arbitrary consensus cut-off of 67% was applied with <10% change
between rounds or 100% agreement interpreted as agreement stability.
Results: A total of 109 competency elements from the total list of 143 were rated as essential above the consensus
cut-off, representing 76% of the original list. Thirty-three (33) elements were rated as essential by 100% of panellists.
Approximately 90% or more of the competency elements tested were retained using the 67% cut-off across nutrition
science, nutrition communication, professional communication, capacity building and intervention management
competency units. Competency elements rated as essential beyond the consensus cut-off concentrated in the
practice competency units of nutrition assessment, monitoring and surveillance, capacity building, and intervention
Conclusions: The results provide an empirical basis for future nutrition curriculum renewal and workforce
development innovations and challenge the assumption that existing dietetic workforce preparation based on
meeting entry-level competencies is adequate for community and PHN practice.