Seeing beyond the eating disorder: health professionals knowledge, skills, and experiences in eating disorder care in New Brunswick, Canada

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University of New Brunswick


Health professionals struggle with caring for individuals with eating disorders, especially in New Brunswick, Canada where there is no recognized eating disorder treatment center. Using narrative methodology, this study explored the perceptions, experience, and training of professionals from seven regulated health disciplines that are most commonly involved in eating disorder care− medicine, dentistry, nursing, social work, occupational therapy, dietetics, and psychology. Study results identified two common themes that hinder identification and intervention: the complex nature of eating disorders and the valuing of health priorities within the health care setting. This study brings light to the process professionals go through from seeing beyond the eating disorder to understanding the often subtle subtexts that impede eating disorder identification and treatment. Looking at eating disorder care from an interdisciplinary perspective provides unique insight into common needs and challenges of healthcare providers and may ultimately inform existing and developing treatment and prevention initiatives.