The clinical term refers to employment in hospitals, HMO's, long-term care facilities, or other health care facilities. In this setting, the RD educates patients about nutrition and administers medical nutrition therapy as part of the health care team. They work with doctors, nurses, and therapists to help speed patients' recoveries and lay the groundwork for long-term health. There are many specialty areas including diabetes, kidney disease, eating disorders, cancer, pediatrics, nutrition support, and cardiac rehabilitation.
Community and public health settings allow RD's to teach, monitor, and advise the public. Their efforts focus on helping to improve the quality of life through healthy eating habits. This health promotion may include working with families, children, the elderly and pregnant women.
In a private practice setting, RD's can either work under contract with health care or food companies, or in their own business. Nutrition screening and assessments are performed for their own clients and of those referred to by a physician. They offer advice on weight loss, cholesterol reduction, and a variety of diet-related concerns. They provide services to food service or restaurant managers, food vendors, athletes, nursing home residents, company employees, or individual counseling.
Many RD's who pursue the food and nutrition-related business industry possess strengths in creativity, entrepreneurship, and business. They find this area to be rewarding. These positions involve work in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing, or product development.
Foodservice operations can be managed by RD's. This may be in schools, hospitals, day-care centers, or correctional facilities. Typically, they oversee everything from food purchasing and preparation to staff management.
RD's can work in management of healthcare institutions, foodservice, and business facilities. Frequently these positions include personnel responsibilities, menu planning and budgeting. As Americans recognize the importance of good nutrition, management dietitians play an increasingly key role wherever food is served.
Research RD's work in universities, medical centers, governmental agencies, and food and pharmaceutical companies. They teach physicians, nurses, dietetic students, and others in the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition. In these positions, research is directed or conducted with experiments to answer critical nutrition recommendations for the public.
In a sports nutrition or wellness program, RD's educate clients about the connection between food, fitness and health. The RD counsels and assesses the nutritional needs of competitive and recreational athletes and teams.
Although most of the nutritional health market requires the RD credential, there are opportunities for a student who has their B.S., but did not complete the RD requirements.
These positions include: