It always happens the same way. I introduce myself to someone new, they ask what I do, I tell them I'm a Registered Dietitian. The reaction is usually, "Oh! I've always wanted to see a nutritionist!" The terms dietitian and nutritionist are not equivalent. Here is what you need to know, and why it matters for your care.
There is an important difference between a Registered Dietitian (also called a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) and a nutritionist, which is key to help you find the right healthcare provider. As a Registered Dietitian, there are multiple levels of regulations and requirements that must be upheld and met to earn the title. To be a dietitian, one must undergo a strict curriculum of classes, complete a rigorous and regulated internship with an accredited institution, pass a national board exam, and meet annual requirements for ongoing training and education. Not an easy feat!
Why does this matter to you? When looking for healthcare providers, don't you always want to make sure you are seeing professionals who are appropriately trained and licensed? Seeing a nutritionist means the professional providing care is not necessarily trained, registered, or licensed in any way. When you choose a Registered Dietitian as your nutrition care professional, you are ensuring your provider has met training requirements, passed rigorous exams, and continually upkeeps knowledge in the field with ongoing training. If you want to learn more about how one becomes a Registered Dietitian, take a look at the regulating society's information here.
So, when you book your session, I hope you tell me, "I've always wanted to see a Registered Dietitian!" Take control of your care, and make sure you are seeing the professionals who will give you and your family optimal care.