Our registered dietitians, dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians play a vital role in the health care team by providing nutritional care to patients in various disease states and conditions.
Registered dietitians are the experts in nutrition care. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but only a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) has completed multiple layers of education and training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, an RD or RDN must fulfill a specially designed accredited nutrition curriculum, complete an extensive supervised program of practice and pass a rigorous registration exam. Additionally, roughly half of all RDs and RDNs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields, such as nutrition support, oncology, renal and sports nutrition.
We share our knowledge with the next generation of care professionals, as some dietitians are educators to medical and pharmacy students in collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Many of our dietitians also act as preceptors to dietetic interns in collaboration with the Dietetic Internship through Mount Mary University. Students in nutrition programs at outside universities may come for a shadowing experience.
The Role of a Dietitian in Your Care
Our dietitians monitor, assess and optimize nutrition status based on the patient's current medical condition and/or nutrition adequacy. They confer with physicians and other health care professionals to coordinate medical and nutritional needs, and make recommendations for tube and intravenous feedings and/or dietary supplements.
Dietitians teach patients how to make nutritionally sound food choices to speed the recovery process, prevent disease, maintain a healthy lifestyle and promote weight loss or gain as needed. Each dietitian is required to stay up to date on the most effective nutrition interventions by continuing their education beyond the classroom. Some dietitians are involved in conducting research in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Learn more about our nutrition services.