Registered dietitians usually work in a hospital or a care facility such as a nursing home or a rehabilitation center. However, they may also privately consult clientele independently. Regardless of their place of employment, they work to assess their patients'/clients' nutritional needs and to create care plans that are tailored to each person's ongoing dietary needs and goals. Registered dietitians also routinely monitor their patients'/clients' basic vital signs and keep track of their body mass indexes (BMIs) and other related measurements.
A bachelor's degree in nutrition is the minimum educational requirement for registered dietitians. In addition, registered dietitians are also required to obtain a license from their respective state in order to work in that state. (Each state will have its own requirements related to the license required for a registered dietitian.) Communication and people skills, organization and planning are essential for registered dietitians. Registered dietitians must also have a moderate degree of computer literacy. Additional language skills are also desirable and in high demand. Certification or other related work experience with women, infants and children (WIC) may be preferred by some employers. Registered dietitians commonly work somewhat normal business or daytime hours, although some are required to work nights, evenings or weekends.
Registered Dietitian Tasks
- Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, diet modifications, food selection and preparation.
- Consult with physicians and health care staff to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient.
- May monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
- Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits and nutrition monitoring.
- Screen, assess and evaluate nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.