Dietitian

Education

  • - professional higher education (VS) / bachelor’s degree,

  • -master’s study programme (MA).

About profession

Description of work:

 A dietitian in healthcare programmes assesses eating habits and nutritional status of all age groups of people, plans menus for individuals and groups of people with the aim of preventing illness and speeding up the recovery processes with the patients. He/she has an in-depth knowledge of diet and dietetics.

 Description of work - extensively:

In health care dietitians work in the field of dietetics and health food supply. They ensure the provision of nutritional and quality food to individuals or groups of people. In their work, they take into account procedures for safe food handling and safe food preparation. Good knowledge of production, distribution and food supply systems is essential. A dietitian should also be well familiar with the food and products for artificial feeding, their nutrient content and their usefulness in nutrition. He/she carries out nutrition screening (treatment) and assessment of the nutritional status and forms a nutrition plan and monitors the effectiveness of the proposed measures. A dietitian is well aware of the techniques for assessing the intake and calculation of the nutrients needed, and uses guidelines and references in his/her work. The work consists of making menus for both healthy and sick individuals or groups of people. He/she performs health education work and advises individuals on the right diet and the proper way of preparing food.

Features of the profession

Field of work:

Work areas of dietetics include: supervision of work in the preparation and delivery of food, the composition of balanced menus, cooperation with healthcare personnel in patient treatment, nutrition treatment of patients, health education work, education of individuals and groups of people on healthy diet and the appropriate way of preparing food.
Dietitians in healthcare can be employed in health care institutions, social institutions and in various food establishments.

Work tools

Dietitians employ various tools for performing dietary screening in their work: scales, special diagnostic scales, laboratory reports, various computer programmes and other tools for evaluating and calculating energy and nutritional needs. When planning the menus, he/she uses general recommendations on healthy eating.

Knowledge and skills

He/she acquires the necessary knowledge in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, nutrigenomics, microbiology, medicine, immunology, pharmacy, psychology and sociology, which are important for understanding the field of physiology and pathophysiology of diet and the way of eating habits/needs of an individual and the population and diet therapy. It’s crucial to know and understand food quality, food processing technology and food processing, food microbiology, food safety and legislation in these areas. He/she is well aware of the procedures for nutrition treatment of patients taking into account history, laboratory analyses and biochemical tests, the establishment of adequate nutritional support and care for patients. A dietitian must also have well-developed oral and written communication skills with professionals and service users and in interdisciplinary team work with health and social professionals.

A dietitian is familiar with the techniques of organising and managing facilities for food preparation and distribution, the technology of preparing individual dishes, suitable menus and menus for the target population. He/she understands the epidemiology of the way of eating and nutrition status and determining health and promotion activities related to healthy food and healthy eating habits for the target groups of the population. He/she is familiar with the basics of health-ecological management and economics and quality in health care. At work he/she uses information-communication technologies and various information systems.

Psychophysical abilities

Dietetics work in healthcare is of medium physical demanding. The job requires well-developed sensory abilities and the ability to listen, observe and be empathic. In addition, important abilities are also psychological understanding and decision-making. Dietetics have to be aware of the importance of personal hygiene and environmental hygiene.

Interests

Dietetics must have well-developed sense of communication, collaboration, adaptation skills, work with people and good organisational skills.

Working conditions

The conditions of work vary, depending on the area where the work is performed. Work can be done in food preparing establishments where they plan, organise and check preparation of meals. He/she usually works indoors, where he/she works as an educator about the right way of eating and in the departments of health institutions, where he carries out dietary therapy.
Part of the activity is focused on the administrative design of recommendations, instructions and nutritional assessments that are designed according to the goal and users.

Hazards / Risks

Dangers depend on the areas of work. In food processing plants/factories, mechanical damage and damage due to slip on wet and slippery floor are possible. In health institutions there is a risk of contact with infectious diseases.

Average salary in EU:

Beginner – about 24,000€ per year; experienced dietitian – up to 45,000€ per year.

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