Within health care, the occupations of catering officer and dietitian stem from the same root – nursing. However, despite this common base, dietitians have recorded working tensions between these two groups. As caterers and dietitians are both responsible for ensuring the provision of nutritionally adequate and appetising food, their successful collaboration is essential to successful patient feeding. A qualitative study was undertaken to account for the values, ideals and beliefs brought to their practice. A small purposive sample of caterers and dietitians were interviewed to elucidate their views on the importance of their chosen occupation to them. The interviews were recorded and verbatim transcripts made. The content was analysed manually using a grounded theory approach, so that key issues emerged from the interviews per se. These themes – qualification, motivation, reality, constraints and perceptions – provide the basis for describing differing value systems underpinning practice, and highlighting significant interprofessional issues for caterers and dietitians.
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