What Is A Registered Dietitian?
To qualify as an RD, you need an honours degree in a nutrition related subject and then a further year's practical training in dietetics. Continual professional development is also required as nutrition is a forever developing science.
Hospitals, Medical Consultants and GPs can only employ nutritionists who are Registered; recognising them as the only people qualified to give valid nutritional advice. The training to become Registered includes detailed knowledge of how the body works, counselling skills, how drugs and nutrients work in the body and how to treat disease states, as well as supporting subjects such as food preparation and microbiology.
Registered Dietitians are members of the British Dietetic Association (BDA)- a royal charter holding governing body. The term 'dietitian' is now protected, so that only individuals with an RD can call themselves by this name.
All dieititians are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and you can check out their registrations by going on to the HCPC website.
To find out more about the difference between a dieiitan and a nutrition therapist/diet expert please follow this link:
Why trust a Welsh dietitian?
Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual level across hospital and community settings. They also work at a wider public health level on the key issues of how diet and nutrition contribute to promoting population health and reducing risk of chronic disease and contribute to national and local policy.
Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
Where do dietitians work and what do they do?
Food and Nutrition are central to many aspects of the delivery of health and social care and the dietetic profession have a key role to play in both treatment and prevention of disease.
The majority of dietitians in Wales are employed by the NHS Health Boards and Trusts. They work across hospital and community settings as part of multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teams, supporting and providing services and ensuring evidence based, consistent, quality assured nutrition and dietetic advice at both a strategic and local level. They have direct contact with patients and work through teaching and training others.
Dietitians also work in a wide range of other settings including: private practice, industry, education, research, sport, public relations, local councils and other non-government organisations. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.
Dietitians often work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams to treat complex clinical conditions such as long term conditions, food allergy and intolerance, eating disorders, malnutrition, kidney failure and bowel disorders. They provide advice to caterers to ensure appropriate nutritional care of all clients in the NHS and other care settings such as care homes. They also plan, implement and evaluate public health programmes to promote health and prevent nutrition related diseases. A key role of a dietitian is to build capacity by training and educating other workers in health and social care as well as voluntary and community groups.
Dietitians are involved in research and supporting new and emerging areas of dietary treatment where close supervision is required e.g autism
In Wales, Dietitians are playing a key role in delivering on government policy across the breadth of areas from prevention through to palliative care, working at all levels and in partnership with a range of government and non-government agencies, to address key priorities ensuring an evidence based, informed approach to the development of nutrition and dietetic practice.
Through new and innovative ways of working the dietetic profession in Wales are transforming care to improve health and social care outcomes for the benefit of the people of Wales including:
With rising levels of obesity and diet related preventable conditions, dietitians have a lead role in public health, focusing on food and health policy and implementation.
They work in partnership with other key agencies to achieve the following key targets:
· Developing communities capacity and skills to address nutritional issues
· Creating supportive environments
· Supporting Public Policy
Dietitians are making key contributions to Welsh Government Strategy to include ‘Our Healthy Future’ and the ‘All Wales Obesity Pathway’ and are leading on interventions to include:
· NUTRITION SKILLS FOR LIFETM , a programme of quality assured nutrition training delivered by Registered Dietitians in the NHS in Wales
· Foodwise for Life Weight Management Package, a community weight management programme designed to be delivered by trained community based staff including leisure centre staff and community development workers.
Reducing costs associated with malnutrition
Dietitians have been key in the development of Welsh Government policy to address the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, inputting in to the development of the All Wales Hospital Nutrition Care Pathway, All Wales Nutrition and Catering Standards for Food and Fluid Provision for Hospital Inpatients and A Nutrition in Community Settings pathway and resource pack and continue to play a key role in the delivery of these.
Dietitians are leading multi professional teams to implement a whole systems approach to the management of malnutrition through: A robust system of nutritional screening, implementation of national and local policies and standards on food and fluid, Training and Education of all staff groups, treating service users diagnosed with malnutrition
The development of the All Wales Menu has been led by the Consultant Dietitian in Public Health and the creation of a Lead Dietitian Procurement has provided leadership, liaison and interface between dietitians, catering managers and procurement services.
Demonstrating cost effective use of prescription products
Dietitians can provide cost effective quality care by ensuring patients receive the most appropriate treatment, thereby reducing inappropriate prescribing of oral nutritional supplements (ONS). (BDA, 2013, Know Your Worth-Trust a Dietitian, Impact of Nutrition and Dietetic Service)
Treatment and/or management of long term conditions such as obesity, diabetes, respiratory conditions, cancer and coronary heart disease and promoting self management through group education
Nutrition is the cornerstone of the management of long term conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardio vascular disease and respiratory conditions.
· Dietitians play a key role in empowering people and supporting self care for the people in Wales through delivery of structured patient education programmes. For example, delivery / roll out of structured education programmes for diabetes.
· Dietitians work in partnership with multi-professional teams across all organisational boundaries supporting a whole systems approach to healthy living.
· Dietitians are unique in that they work across all areas of the care pathway from prevention and community health services through to specialist tertiary services.