The primary function of a clinical dietitian is to design nutrition programs to improve or maintain patients' health. These programs may be short-term, for example, to ensure that adequate nutrition is given to the victim of an accident until complete healing has occurred. Or they may be long-term for patients with diabetes, kidney disease, or diseases of old age that affect proper nutrition. Programs designed can be preventive, for heart disease or obesity, or therapeutic to help a patient with heart disease maintain a baseline health and nutrition status.
Our team of clinical nutritionists are qualified professionals. We work one-on-one with patients to develop diets based on how food affects you, tailoring nutritional interventions to your specific nutritional needs and goals. A clinical nutritionist consults with doctors, caregivers and patients to develop personalized diet and exercise plans. He or she educates patients on the importance of a healthy diet and how their particular medical conditions require them to comply with very specific nutritional guidelines.
In addition, a professional can create a shopping list and explain cooking instructions to ensure patients eat the right meals. Most clinical nutritionists are employees of hospitals and assisted living centers, but some professionals operate their own consultation centers. At Applied, clinical nutrition can be completed in as little as two years and fully online when completed at Northeast College of Health Sciences. A full-time student pursuing a master's degree in clinical nutrition can generally complete a program in 18 months.
Meanwhile, certified clinical nutrition specialists and dietitians earn degrees, conduct internships, and obtain licenses that ensure they have the necessary training to make use of the most credible, evidence-based research. To become a clinical nutritionist, you will generally need to have earned the Certified Nutrition Specialty (CNS) credential, which involves an exam and 1000 hours of supervised practice experience. Part-time students pursuing a master's degree in clinical nutrition generally graduate in three to five years.