Clinical dietitians are experts in nutrition who help clients maintain healthy lifestyles and achieve their health-related goals. They are responsible for learning about their clients' specific needs, creating a nutritional plan of action in consultation with the clients, evaluating clients' progress and making adjustments to the plans as needed. These individuals may also conduct educational sessions for clients, the community or other groups on nutrition and healthy lifestyles, and they must attend required team meetings and educational programs. Clinical dietitians work in many types of environments, including hospitals, private practice and long-term care facilities, to provide nutrition therapy directly to clients. They generally work during regular business hours, although weekend work or other hours may be required; these professionals can work part time or full time.
At least a bachelor's degree in a related field is generally required for clinical dietitian positions, as well as hundreds of hours of supervised training. Many states require licensing, state registration or certification. Clinical dietitians must
have strong knowledge of food safety and sanitation, as well as excellent written and oral communication skills to convey information effectively to clients. They should work well on their own with minimal supervision, as well as in a team setting with colleagues and clients.
Clinical Dietician Tasks
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.
May monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
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.