Clinical Dietitian

Advise people on a proper diet to improve their health.

What does a Clinical Dietitian do?

Are you curious about how food impacts the systems of the body? Are you interested in learning how nutrition helps the body recover from disease? If you want to aid sick patients and feel the reward of bringing them back to health, a career as a clinical dietitian might be ideal for you.

Clinical dietitians work directly with patients in hospitals, clinics, or care centers. These patients often suffer from diseases such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Or they might be recovering from surgery or illness. Regardless of their situation, your job as a clinical dietitian is to make sure they receive a well-balanced diet while they’re undergoing treatment. This process involves meeting with each patient to evaluate his or her needs. What is the medical diagnosis? Does the patient have food allergies? Do you need to plan low-sugar, high-protein, or low-fat options?

Of course you focus on healthy foods. But this may not be sufficient since patients who are sick enough to be in the hospital often have a hard time keeping down the food you’d like to see them eat. So you work with the patient, doctor, and kitchen staff to come up with meals that provide the patient’s dietary requirements, while being both palatable and digestible.

Patients who receive their nutrients through feeding tubes are also under your care. You evaluate their nutritional needs and match those with the proper foods. Then you monitor their progress and make adjustments as needed.

As you can see, a clinical dietitian’s job is both science- and service-oriented. Your success in this career depends on a nurturing attitude coupled with a concentrated knowledge about the body.