Being a Nutritionist offers a variety of different career paths. There are Clinical Nutritionists, Community Nutritionists, Nutritional Consultants, and Sports Nutritionists. Clinical Nutritionists work in such locations as hospitals, nursing care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other health institutions. These places use nutritionists to help improve the overall health of patients with a wide range of medical conditions, which can include obesity, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, AIDS, lung disease, metabolic disorders, and liver, kidney, and pancreatic disorders.
Nutritionists also care for patients undergoing surgical procedures. They access their patients' nutritional needs and develop a dietary plan. They also evaluate and report the results to the attending physician or other medical providers.
Clinical Nutritionists work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to coordinate and implement patient nutritional needs. They are often involved with the care of patients that have diabetes, including gestational diabetes, are overweight, have kidney problems, or are critically ill. By making dietary changes, patients can help prevent the blockage of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. Making changes to your diet can also help prevent and control diabetes, which affects nearly one in ten Americans. Nutritionists also help treat patients with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, which can cause death. They may also manage the food service department in small hospitals, nursing care facilities, or in prisons.
Clinical Nutritionists must be knowledgeable with how certain foods, fluids, supplements, and vitamins interact with medications. They must also have knowledge regarding patient food allergens. Common foods such as fish, shrimp, bananas, nuts, soy, dairy products, eggs and wheat gluten may trigger dangerous allergic reactions in patients.
A career as a Clinical Nutritionist can be interesting and rewarding. Typically they work with patients that have significant health issues and dietary changes can play a big role in improving their health and their lives. The average salary for a Clinical Nutritionist is about $50,000 a year.