Registered dieticians are experts in food and nutrition. They assist clients by assessing their nutritional status and knowledge, as well as developing appropriate nutritional plans that cater to the client's specific needs, illnesses, and comorbidities. A registered dietician educates clients regarding proper nutritional intake, providing examples of how to select and prepare healthy meals. This person also recommends dietary supplements as needed. A registered dietician may be utilized to assist with weight loss, diabetic nutrition education, prenatal nutrition classes, and other specialty nutrition areas.
Registered dieticians typically work indoors in hospitals or outpatient clinics. Travel may be required if performing home visits is part of their job. Potential exposure to contagious diseases may occur in some workplace settings. A registered dietician is often a member of an interdisciplinary health team and works closely with physicians, nurses, caregivers, and meal preparers to ensure the best nutritional outcome for clients. A registered dietician usually reports to the senior registered dietician manager and may be overseen by the patient services director or office manager, depending on the practice setting.
A registered dietician must hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a similar field. This person must also obtain certification as a registered dietician by the Commission on Dietitian Registration. State licensure as a registered dietician may also be required for employment in certain states. Additional certification, such as diabetes education certification, can increase employability.
Registered Dietician 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.