Dietitian

From Academic Kids

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition. They help promote good health through proper eating. They also supervise the preparation and service of food, develop modified diets, participate in research, and educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits. The goals of the dietary department are to obtain, prepare, and serve flavorful, attractive, and nutritious food to patients, family members, and health care providers.

Nutrition professionals include registered dietitian (RD) and dietetic technician, registered (DTR). Some RDs or DTRs call themselves nutritionists. Sometimes the term dietitian is spelled as dietician.

Types of Dietitian

The majority of dietitians are clinical, or therapeutic, dietitians. Clinical dietitians review medical charts and talk with patients' families. They work with other health care professionals and community groups to provide nourishment, nutritional programs, and instructional presentations to benefit people of all ages, and with a variety of health conditions. This is accomplished by developing individual plans to meet nutritional needs. These plans include nourishment, tube feedings (called enteral nutrition), intravenous feedings (called parenteral nutrition) such as total parenteral nutrition (TPN), diets, and education. Clinical dietitians provide individual and group educational programs for patients and family members about their nutrition and health.

Community dietitians work with wellness programs and international health organizations. These dietitians apply and distribute knowledge about food and nutrition to specific life-styles and geographic areas. They coordinate nutritional programs in public health agencies, daycare centers, health clubs, and recreational camps and resorts.

Administrative, or management, dietitians are responsible for large-scale food planning and service. They manage dietary departments in health care facilities, school food service programs, prisons, cafeterias, and restaurants. They also hire, train, direct, and supervise employees.

Business dietitians serve as resource people for the media. They work as sales representatives for food manufacturing companies companies that provide nutritional supplements and tube feedings.

Consultant dietitians work under private practice. They contract independently to provide nutrition services and educational programs to individuals, nursing homes, and in health care facilities.

Dietary clerks perform clerical tasks such as entry and maintenance of dietary requirements to a database. They check menus against recent diet orders before tray assembly begins. They also track financial information, such as the number of meals served each day.

Dietary managers are responsible for retail, catering, and tray lines. If an operation is large, there may be one or more managers to help in directing the dietary workers.

Dietary workers prepare the food and meal trays in the kitchen. They check for accuracy and completeness. They also maintain the storage area for food supplies and ensure practice of sanitary procedures. Dietary workers are trained on the job and can work in any commercial kitchen.

Dietary hosts or hostesses deliver and bring back the meal trays to patients. They distribute and collect menus and help the patients to make complete selections.

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