Thursday, March 12, 2015

What Do Dietitians Do?

Dietitians do a lot! The specific role of a dietitian is tied to what area that practice in; if you missed yesterday's post, check out where dietitians work.

I work primarily as a clinical dietitian. In other words, my primary work setting is a hospital. I work with the medical team to provide adequate care and appropriate nutrition, which is also called Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). I am able to work with physicians to write TPN (total parenteral nutrition or IV nutrition) and tube feeds for patients who can not eat by mouth. I help counsel patients with many nutritional needs: malnutrition, failure to thrive, formula mixing, healing wounds, post-surgery nutrition, post-transplant nutrition, dialysis, diabetes education, and much more.

In the outpatient setting, I counsel and educate patients in a clinic similar to your doctor's office. The type of education or MNT is only limited to what type of doctor you work with or what types of patients are seen. In a Nutrition Clinic, dietitians see patients that are referred by doctors. So, the range of nutrition counseling is endless.

Dietitians can teach in schools and colleges. RDs can write menus for schools, restaurants, or large corporations. RDs can be policy-makers. RDs help fuel collegiate and professional athletes to help improve their athletic performance. If it has to do with nutrition, dietitians can be involved because dietitians are nutrition experts. Nutrition is a broad field with varied job opportunities. Did I leave out one of your favorite areas of practice for a RD? If so, leave a comment with more information about what RDs can do.

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