About Dietitians

Professional Standards

Dietitians have a responsibility to provide the public with knowledge and ethical nutrition practice in accordance with the Professional Standards for Dietitians in Canada.

Core Standards

These standards guide Dietitians in daily practice:

  1. Professionals provide a service to a client

The Dietitian and client need to work together to establish and achieve mutually desirable goals.

To apply Standard 1, each Dietitian:
  • Collaborates with the client and/or appropriate others
  • Manages available resources effectively and efficiently in meeting the needs of the client
  • Applies a research-based approach in providing a dietetic service
  • Uses critical thinking to analyze, synthesize, and apply information to improve the quality and effectiveness of service
  • Creates a client-centred environment conducive to achieving client outcomes
  1. Professionals base their practice on a unique body of knowledge

The Dietitian uses scientific knowledge of food and human nutrition and recent research to provide up-to-date professional information to those seeking nutrition advice.

To apply Standard 2, each Dietitian:
  • Has the knowledge relevant to her/his area of practice
  • Knows how and where to locate needed information
  • Shares knowledge and information with appropriate others
  • Is informed about the unique body of knowledge possessed by Dietitians in a variety of roles, and the contribution of Dietitians as related to other service providers
  • Seeks to strengthen innovation and excellence in practice by supporting the development and use of new knowledge in dietetics
  • Creates an environment that assists individuals to acquire new knowledge and skills
  1. Professionals competently apply knowledge

The Dietitian uses his/her knowledge as well as information obtained from the client and analyzes all relevant data to formulate, monitor and evaluate a plan. The Dietitian will ensure that the plan is appropriate for the client, the client understands and agrees to the plan and that mutually set goals are achieved.

To apply Standard 3, each Dietitian:
  • Uses the skills necessary to apply the knowledge relevant to her/his area of practice
  • Collaborates with clients and/or appropriate others
  • Identifies food and nutrition issues through the assessment of data, documentation from the literature and critical analysis of information
  • Formulates goals and objective, and develops an action plan designed to meet these goals and objectives
  • Implements, monitors, and modifies the action plan
  • Evaluates the action plan through critical appraisal of the process and outcomes
  • Establishes and maintains appropriate information and communication systems
  • Applies knowledge gained from experience, clinical judgements, and research findings to professional practice
  1. Professionals maintain competence in their area of practice

The Dietitian is responsible for ensuring that he/she is up-to-date and maintains competence in his/her area of practice.

To apply Standard 4, each Dietitian:
  • Uses an organized and focused approach in:  assessing her/his level of competence, determining her/his strengths and competence gaps/learning needs, and developing a plan to meet those needs
  • Strives for excellence in the profession by participation in, supporting and promoting the use of self-assessment methods and feedback from appropriate others to review and implement changes to practice
  • Invests the time, effort, and other resources needed to maintain and/or improve the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and judgements required for her/his practice
  1. Professionals adhere to a code of ethics

The Dietitian must adhere to the ethical guidelines of the profession. This includes identifying skills limitations and seeking help when necessary. Also, protecting the clients right to privacy and respect.

To apply Standard 5, each Dietitian:
  • Demonstrates, through example and behaviour, adherence to the code of ethics for the dietetic profession
  • Practices within her/his level of competence
  • Recognizes her/his knowledge or skill limitations, and when necessary, seeks the help, guidance, and expertise of others
  • Reports unsafe practice or professional misconduct to the appropriate person or agency
  • Protects a client’s right to autonomy, respect, confidentiality, dignity, and access to information
  • Promotes and supports ethical behaviour in practice and in research
  • Uses discussions with colleagues as a means to resolve or interpret ethical issues
  1. Professionals are responsible and accountable to the public for their own actions

The Dietitian is responsible for adhering to the legislative guidelines and standards of practice for the profession. This provides the public with nutrition services that are safe and effective. The public has a right to file a complaint and there is a process in place to resolve such complaints.

To apply Standard 6, each Dietitian:
  • Assumes responsibility and accountability for her/his own professional actions
  • Ensures that her/his practice complies with current legislation, and the Standards of Practice of the professional
  • Follows and continually strives to make changes to pertinent legislation, guidelines, and policies and procedures to ensure consistency with Standards of Practice
  • Advocates for improvements in practice
  • Acts to ensure that public safety is maintained
Dietitians of Canada, College of Dietitians of Ontario, Professional Standards for Dietitians in Canada 1997.

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