Registered Dietitians (RDs) are health professionals who work in amazingly diverse settings with a variety of sick and healthy people. They use the most up-to-date scientific research to assess and treat dietary and nutritional problems.
There is a difference between a Dietitian, Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapist. Dietitians are regulated by law and must abide by a professional ethical code set by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). The minimum qualification required is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a science-related degree with a postgrad qualification in Dietetics.
A Dietitian can work as a Nutritionist, but a Nutritionist cannot work as a Dietitian.
RDs provide people with practical advice to make healthy lifestyle and food choices. Dietitians can work in the NHS, private practice, education, sport, research, public relations, media, publishing, government and non-government organisations.
Dietitians often work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to treat complex conditions such as diabetes, IBS, Crohn’s disease, eating disorders, malnutrition, food allergies and intolerances to name just a few.
A common working day for a Dietitian working in the NHS may include working on the wards with in-patients, or running out-patient clinics to offer support to people with a variety of medical conditions.
The most common way to find a Registered Dietitian is to contact your local hospital or GP surgery, but you may also find the following websites helpful:
- Freelance Dietitians, which is run in conjunction with the British Dietetic Association (BDA)
- Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
You can find more information about the role of a Dietitian in this BDA leaflet.