A registered dietitian is a member of the dietary team that generally supervises lower members, such as dietary aides. A registered dietitian must hold a 4-year degree, and be licensed in the state in which they are employed. Master degree level education in nutrition is also an option, but not required for entry-level practice. The roles of the registered dietitian include nutritional meal planning and preparation, meal delivery, and nutritional education. The ideal registered dietitian is very detail-oriented, organized, self-motivated, people-friendly and has interest and experience with food preparation, nutrition and health. Registered dietitian generally are in charge of meal planning and preparation in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, assisted-living facilities, daycares, schools, and home health settings. The hours can vary, including nights, weekends, and holidays, but are generally Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.
Dietician or Nutritionist 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.