The work of the nutritionist involves the planning and designing food, and the nutrition programs, supervising the preparation and the serving of meals. Nutritionists are health professionals who specialise in nutritional deficiencies that are issues with either an individual or a specific community. The holistic approach they take looks at the patient as well as the deficiency or problem alone.
Nutritionists will make recommendations for society and concentrate on the nutrition of the whole environment. This is done for the benefit of public health in general and will provide educational and outreach programs to encourage the public to improve their nutritional habits. Nutritionists have a wide perspective and will work with various health models as a process to help both their patients and clients in achieving a greater well being.
Working in either a hospital or school environment the nutritionist will often be referred to as a dietitian and frequently work one-on-one with patients. Meal plans for hospitals, nursing homes and are often seen working in schools together with staff to aid students, in achieving a good nutritional balance.
Their jobs can become very demanding and complex if they are dealing with specific symptoms like fatigue or immunity. They work with serious conditions like cancer and heart problems which can be controlled and aided with nutritional guidance and regular consultations working with the general practitioner. Eastern medicine would often be included.
The cooperation of patient is an important part of the healing process when working with a nutritionist. It is likely that the nutritionist would ask that the patient keep a log of the daily intake of food, mood swings and stress levels this enables the nutritionist to prepare a survey of the symptoms that occur.
Reading materials may be left with the patient as an additional aid for the client. These procedures are important as they help the nutritionist to carry out their work.
Qualifications required to practice as a nutritionist would be a bachelor degree in food and nutrition, related areas such as food services management. Students may also have studied chemistry, biology, food management.
To practise the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association, you will need to provide a credential ‘RD’ (Registered Dietician). Not all states work under the same regulations however, and not all nutritionists are able to call themselves registered dietitian’s as states have different license laws which regulate the process.
In certain states a degree in nutrition is essential to be a nutritionist where in other states anyone can refer to themselves as one irrespective of their training or education.