About Dietitians

Registered Dietitians are legally recognized as nutrition experts and are qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy for the prevention, delay and management of disease.   Dietitians are uniquely trained to provide nutrition care along the entire continuum of health – from well, active individuals, of all ages, looking to improve their eating habits, to critically ill patients needing intensive medical nutrition therapy, and all stages in between.

Dietitians must be part of a regulatory body in order to practice, just like physicians, pharmacists and nurses, and must meet the BC government's mandate of "public protection". Across Canada, the titles “Dietitian” and “Registered Dietitian” are protected by law. Only qualified health professionals can legally use these titles. In British Columbia, the legislation distinguishes between Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians. Dietitians are regulated under the Health Professions Act, Dietitians Regulation and the CDBC Bylaws. Nutritionists are not regulated by government in most provinces across Canada (exception - Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia).

 Dietitians:

  • have, at minimum, completed five years of recognized university level education in dietetics
  • have completed a one-year (~1300 hr) dietetic practicum in acute clinical nutrition care, population & public health nutrition and nutrition management,
  • are regulated under the BC Health Professions Act and must be registered with the CDBC to practice in BC and use the reserved title “Dietitian”,
  • have passed a national competence examination (the Canadian Dietitian Registration Exam),
  • are required through legislation to maintain their competence and meet government approved Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics,
  • must undergo a Criminal Records search; and
  • are required to practice in the best interest of the public – safely, competently and ethically.

  

Role

Dietitians actively contribute to the health and well being of British Columbians and are essential members of interprofessional healthcare teams. Dietitians are known for:

  • assessing nutritional needs of individuals and groups
  • using a holistic approach to nutritional counselling
  • designing, implementing and monitoring nutritional care plans and therapeutic diets based on current and relevant scientific, medical and nutrition information
  • disseminating relevant scientific information about food and human nutrition to promote health and assist individuals, groups and communities attain and maintain health and
  • managing quality food service operations in healthcare institutions

 

What's the difference between DIetitian and Nutritionist?

Watch thevideo "I am a Dietitian"produced by Dietitians of Canada.

Scope of Practice

Dietitians’ scope of practice is broadly defined in the Dietitians Regulation.

Dietitians may register with restricted activities if they feel competent and safe to practice them. The following restricted activities are defined in the Dietitians Regulation:

"Restricted Activities"
No person other than a registrant who meets the additional qualifications set out in the bylaws of the college may

(a) design, compound or dispense therapeutic diets if nutrition is administered through enteral means,
(b) design therapeutic diets if nutrition is administered through parenteral means, or
(c) administer a substance to a person by instillation through enteral or parenteral means.

Limits or conditions on services

(1)  No registrant may insert a feeding tube.
(2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a registrant who
a) is acting under delegated authority of a medical practitioner, and
(b) is acting in accordance with standards developed for the purposes of paragraph (a) and approved by the board and approved by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia."

Common Workplaces

Dietitians practice in a variety of settings:

  • hospitals, rehabilitation, long-term care facilities or home care
  • community health centres, health clinics
  • food service departments in hospitals and other health care facilities, schools, universities, and businesses
  • private practice
  • academic and research institutions
  • food, food marketing, food research and pharmaceutical industry
  • government offices responsible for nutrition & health services
  • sports and recreation facilities