Last updated: 22 April 2021
Dietetic Assistants are vital in helping people with their diet and nutrition. They help people by advising them on how their food choices can lead to more fulfilling and healthier lives. Dietetic assistants work with dietitians on food and nutrition while assessing, diagnosing and treating dietary and nutritional problems. The dietetic team also inform, teach and advise the public and healthcare professionals about the importance of diet and nutrition in staying fit and healthy.
A day in the life
In the hospital dietetic assistants may:
- help patients choose from the hospital menu
- order supplies for the department
- monitor a patients food
- input data on patients’ records
- show patients how to use feeding tubes and pumps
- weigh patients
- explain a patients diet and nutrition plan
You will receive appropriate training in order to do the job. This includes an introduction to the department, how to use the equipment and the procedures to follow. You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as:
- the NCFE CACHE level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services
- the NCFE CACHE level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support
You may also be able to gain qualifications by doing an apprenticeship.
Some dietetic assistants join the British Dietetic Association (BDA) as associate members. The BDA runs courses, conferences and seminars where dietetic assistants can update their skills and network with others doing similar work.
With experience and some additional training, you could train as an assistant practitioner or as a dietitian.
For more information regarding joining our Dietetics team, please submit a form through the ‘Contact us’ page or contact the Human Resources team, who are more than happy to help, on 02392 286577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dietetic Support Worker, Nutrition and Dietetics Department
What made you become a Dietetic Support Worker? - "I previously worked in Health Promotion in the community and was very interested in healthy eating and nutrition. My current hours are split between supporting the Community Dietitians and the Macmillan Dietitian at QA so this role was a good opportunity to find out about nutrition in a clinical setting"
What do you do on a day to day basis? - "At the hospital I spend a lot of time arranging oral nutritional supplements for patients who are struggling to eat while undergoing cancer treatment, when it is important that they maintain their weight. There are many different products so I order samples for them to try, arrange GP prescriptions and often deliver bags of supplements to them when they are in the hospital for treatment.
I deal with telephone queries from patients and medical staff and provide admin support such as dealing with referrals, sending letters, and keeping the patient database up-to-date.
My hours in the Community Team are mostly spent doing telephone reviews with patients who are at risk of malnutrition due to medical conditions, particularly those in nursing homes; checking their weights and food intake and arranging for nutritional supplements if required."
Why did you choose PHU? - "PHU is a huge employer and a busy and interesting environment to work in. There is always something new to learn and lots of opportunity for personal development."
What do you enjoy about being a Dietetic Support Worker? - "It has been so interesting learning about the amazing work the Portsmouth Dietitians do with patients both in the hospital and the community and to feel that the work I do in supporting them makes a real difference to the patients."
Career plans and advice for others - "Working as a Dietetic Support Worker is a great way to learn about nutrition and can be a good stepping stone to a career as a Dietitian."