How can a Dietitian help you?
Where do Dietitians work?
Dietitians work in the Health Services Executive (HSE), private practice, consultancy, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, government and Non- Government Organisations (NGOs). Dietitians advise and influence food and health policy across the spectrum from government, to local communities and individuals.
In the Clinical Setting
Dietitians in clinical practice work with healthy and sick people in a variety of settings in the both public and private community and acute settings. They work in HSE, voluntary hospitals, regional, local and private hospitals. In the community they work in primary care centres, voluntary organisations (e.g. Diabetes Federation of Ireland), and in private practice. Dietitians are the only professionals who can be employed by the HSE.
Public Health Settings
Dietitians work the Department of Health, in government agencies such as the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Health & Well being Directorate of the HSE, Non- Government Organisations (NGOs) such as the Irish Heart Foundation and in consultancy.
Strong scientific and clinical evidence underpins the work of Dietitians. Some Dietitians undertake nutrition and dietetics research within the university setting while others do so within their work setting; this can be in a hospital, community or government agency. Many are awarded masters or doctoral degrees and their research is published in nutrition, scientific and medical journals.
What type of nutrition services do they offer?
In the clinical setting, Dietitians:
- Work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams in the hospital setting to treat complex clinical conditions such as liver disease, transplantation, kidney disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, malnutrition, allergy and intolerance.
- Treat patients, in the hospital, community or private clinic setting, using their knowledge of the medical condition involved and the application of nutrition in the prevention, treatment of management of the condition.
- Work with medical teams to ensure appropriate use of blood tests in the nutritional management of patients as well as the appropriate usage of nutritional supplements. They also advise on drug nutrient interaction to avoid deleterious side effects.
- Advise on appropriate nutrition interventions based upon evidence and careful medical, dietary and lifestyle histories.
- Help to maintain nutritional status when individuals for dietary interventions such as exclusion diets (e.g. wheat/dairy free), nutritional supplementation or in areas such as autism, for which evidence is still emerging.
- Advise and work with other medical staff as to the best course of action in regard to an individual’s nutritional status.
- Work with other health professionals to ensure a holistic approach to the treatment of a medical condition.
In the Public Health Setting, Dietitians:
- Plan and implement public health programmes to promote health and prevent nutrition related diseases.
- Train and educate other health and social care workers.
- Provide nutrition education to the public and in the workplace
In Research, Dietitians:
- Explore the relationship between diet, health and disease across all life stages from conception to old age.
- Design and examine the effect of nutrition and lifestyle interventions on the prevention and treatment of various health conditions.
- Carry out laboratory research to gain an in-depth understanding of how nutrition affects the body.