What Does an Accredited Practising Dietitian Do?
April 7, 2020
Firstly, lets explain the background the education process for a dietitian. A dietitian is required to complete four years of study at university with the final year being an honours or masters year. Once graduated, a dietitian must register with the Dietitian’s Association of Australia where they determine whether you can be granted Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) status. To remain as an APD you must then complete 30 hours of professional development annually, in other words, you must keep up to date with the scientific evidence in nutrition.
An APD in clinic setting will assess a client’s health in terms of their diet by looking into nutritional status, eating behaviours and of course touching on an individual’s normal day to day food choices. Here at Instinct Health, our dietitian will then devise a management plan that will target your individual food choices, your relationship with food and eating habits. This is all whilst taking into consideration the social and economic circumstances of your life.
In a hospital setting the process can look slightly different because of the acute condition the patient is in and the short duration of their stay. A dietitian would be prioritising the nutrition problem of priority, such as malnutrition. A dietitian in a hospital setting may also work closely with the medical team to initiate nasogastric feeds (a tube through the nose directly into the stomach) in a patient who cannot eat on their own to meet their nutritional requirements.
A dietitian isn’t only found in “client-facing” roles such as in private practice or in a hospital. They can also be found in food service roles and in public health, where they influence the health of the population by impacting food policy and the food supply. Food service dietitians are responsible for large-scale food service provision and service. They coordinate, assess and plan food service processes in health care facilities, school food service programs and prisons. These dietitians will perform quality audits of their departments, train other food service workers and use marketing skills to launch new menus and innovative food service programs within their institution.
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gut discomfort
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Renal disease
- Disordered eating/eating disorders
- Food allergies/intolerances
- Sports nutrition
- General healthy eating
Will a dietitian put me onto a diet?
Not necessarily, this can depend on the dietitian, particularly if the goal is weight loss. For example, our dietitians at Instinct Health don’t consider diets to be beneficial to someone’s health and usually won’t focus on weight. Achieving healthy behaviours is a higher priority for our team. However, if a client had a medical condition in which a specific diet was to be beneficial it’s treatment, we would advise it. Of course, there are compromises when it comes to any diet and a dietitian should always work with the client to determine a way of eating that would suit their food preferences and lifestyle.
What people sometimes forget is that dietitians are amazing listeners, we want to support and guide you to make healthy sustainable changes without judgement. Dietitians know exactly how challenging making these changes can be and the ultimate goal is to help you feel your absolute best.
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