Dieticians generally work in a clinical or hospital setting or nursing home. Patients may walk in for services, and in some cases dieticians will visit patients at their bedsides. Dieticians help shape their clients' diets to help them maintain or regain their health and proper nutrition, and may also create meal plans for clients to follow. It is necessary to be familiar with a wide range of dietary restrictions and types of foods, as well as diseases and limitations, in order to assign appropriate food plans.
There are both part-time and full-time positions for dieticians. Some may work with clients who have difficulty communicating, as well as their families. They should not only assign meal plans, but also educate clients and their families regarding how to maintain a healthy diet and why certain foods should or shouldn't be consumed. Dieticians also work with the medical providers of patients (with the patients' consent) in order to better understand their needs. It is important to be able to work well with a wide variety of people and communicate in a patient and effective manner at all times.
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in dietetics or a related field is generally required for this position, after which testing is also required to become registered.
Dietician or Nutritionist 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.