The Registered Dietitian’s Scope of Practice
A nutritionist is anyone who is interested in applying the science of nutrition to the food chosen by a consumer. The nutritionist may be an individual who has read widely on the subject of nutrition but has no academic preparation, or a nutritionist may be a PhD biochemist who is conducting research on the role of vitamin D in the elderly. The definition of a nutritionist is not standardized and may be subject to many misinterpretations. The registered dietitian has graduated from an accredited educational program in nutrition and passed a quality examination assuring competence in the field.
Registered Dietitians serve in diverse practice areas including:
The scope of practice of the registered dietitian is limited only by your creativity.
- Participating as a member of the health-care team in a health-care setting.
- Meeting the nutritional needs of groups of people in the community setting. The Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Program of the US Department of Agriculture hires many registered dietitians to train low-income women in food selection, meal planning, and infant feeding.
- Serving as the manager of a food production center for school food services and overseeing multi-million dollar budgets to provide the highest quality and most nutritious food possible to school children.
- Managing a private practice of nutrition where your entrepreneurial skills are put to the test.
- Teaching in one or all of the areas discussed above.
Employment of dietitians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014 as a result of increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits. A growing and aging population will boost the demand for meals and nutritional counseling in hospitals, residential care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home health care agencies. Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and prudent lifestyles also will spur demand, especially in management. In addition to employment growth, job openings will result from the need to replace experienced workers who leave the occupation.
The number of dietitian positions in nursing care facilities and in state government hospitals is expected to decline as these establishments continue to contract with outside agencies for food services. However, employment is expected to grow rapidly in contract providers of food services, in outpatient care centers, and in offices of physicians and other health practitioners. With increased public awareness of obesity and diabetes, Medicare coverage may be expanded to include medical nutrition therapy for renal and diabetic patients. As a result, dietitians that have specialized training in renal or diabetic diets or have a master’s degree should experience good employment opportunities.
The goals of the Coordinated Program in Nutrition and Dietetics are to:
1. Prepare graduates to be competent entry-level dietitians who are eligible to write the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
2. Prepare graduates who are servant leaders in their chosen profession.
3. Provide professionally trained Registered Dietitians with either an emphasis in medical nutrition therapy or public health nutrition who may be employed by the healthcare and educational systems of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, or local, national, or international entities.
Pass rate of first-time test takers on the registration examination. Over a five-year period, the pass rate for CP graduates taking the registration examination for the first time will be at least 80%.
Students enrolled in the professional courses in the third year of a bachelor-level CP or first year of a graduate level CP that are expected to complete program/degree requirements within 150% of the time planned for completion. Over a five-year period, 70% or more of CP graduates who sought employment in dietetics will be employed within three months of program completion.
Program graduates will become servant leaders in their profession roles.
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