Role of a clinical dietician

November 12, 2012

Role of a clinical dietician

A clinical dietician may have a range of roles but commonly include designing diets suitable for patients with a variety of conditions who are staying in hospital or health care facilities.

Who do clinical dieticians work for?

A clinical dietician will most often work based in either a hospital or a health care facility. They will recommend diets for patients suffering from different conditions such as a low-carbohydrate diet for a patient with diabetes and a low-sodium diet for patients suffering with high blood pressure. A clinical dietician also has a responsibility to communicate with the patients and the families of patients, offering advice and designing meal plans that can be followed at home. Additionally a clinical dietician may work for food manufacturers and become involved in research and development or advertising and marketing. Another option for a clinical dietician is to work directly with professional athletes or with celebrities in health and wellness facilities and institutes.

What do clinical dieticians do?

The ultimate aim of a clinical dietician is to educate and provide patients or athletes with a menu or diet based on their nutritional needs that may be determined by their health, dietary restrictions or intended outcome. Clinical dieticians are required to communicate with nurses and doctors in order to understand the patients condition allowing them to create the most effective dietary plans. They also teach the individual as well as their families about the importance of nutritional diets in term of aiding their recovery. Keeping accurate records, chart notes and dietary histories are all important parts of the job.

Optional features

It is an option for a clinical dietician to get into teaching for instance nutrition classes to medical students, interns and other hospital employees. They are widely expected to join hospital committees, offering advise and guidelines in a wider setting than the usual one on one with patients. There is also the choice to specialise in a certain area of medicine such as paediatric, diabetic or oncology.

Education and benefits of the jobs

To become a clinical dietician a bachelor’s degree is required with some choosing to progress to a master’s degree. Students must expect a large focus on the scientists with classes including biology, chemistry, microbiology and physiology. The average salary is between $38,000 and $47,000 with those working in large hospitals often earning more. Positions are most commonly full time although there is often part-term work available as well.

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