On the Job
Dietetic technicians help dietitians provide nutrition care. They may run food service facilities.
There's an old saying, "Feed a cold, starve a fever." However, in practical terms, eating too much or too little will not help you get better. People with illnesses need nutritious food to help their bodies fight infections and more serious ailments. Dietetic technicians help people eat better, whether they are ill or simply want to improve their diet.Dietetic technicians who provide nutrition care work closely with dietitians. Their primary task is to assist dietitians in developing nutritional care plans. Technicians help gather information about patients' dietary needs. They may talk to doctors, nurses, or family members for this information. Technicians analyze the dietary information and plan diets. Dietetic technicians also educate people about nutrition. They teach people how to plan healthy meals based on their nutritional needs. They also teach people how to select and prepare foods. Technicians help some patients find nutrition workers outside the health care facility. Most of this work is with patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
Some dietetic technicians supervise food production. They work in institutions, such as prisons, daycare centers, and schools. Technicians plan the menus for the institution. They usually must follow guidelines about which foods they can include. Before adding new foods to the menu, dietetic technicians cook and taste them. They may change recipes to make the food taste better.
Dietetic technicians also supervise the workers who are making and serving the food. While they do not hire the workers, dietetic technicians create job descriptions. They also schedule when employees will work. Dietetic technicians are expected to follow procedures for cutting costs. Sometimes dietetic technicians schedule and teach classes for their employees.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Monitor patient food intake and report progress and problems to dietician.
- Use recipes and nutrition guidelines to prepare meals.
- Create new recipes and test new foods for use in the facility.
- Supervise food production and service.
- Follow procedures for cutting costs.
- Develop job descriptions.
- Create work schedules for employees.
- Gather information about patients' dietary needs. Evaluate the information and plan diets.
- Schedule and lead programs for educating workers.
- Teach people how to select and prepare foods. Teach them how to look at their nutritional needs when planning menus.
- Assist dieticians with research.
- Refer patients to nutrition workers outside the health care facility.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Assist and care for others.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Process information.
- Teach others.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Develop and build teams.
- Work with the public.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Schedule work and activities.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social interaction. They constantly work with patients, dietitians, health care workers, and food service workers.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of patients.
- Are often placed in conflict situations in which patients may be rude or frustrated.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by other technicians and assistants.
- Work as part of a health care team.
- Communicate with patients and coworkers daily in person or by telephone.
- Always work indoors.
- Often wear safety attire.
- Work very near other people and have little space between self and others.
- Sometimes work in cramped places that require getting into awkward positions.
- Are sometimes exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting and uncomfortable.
- Are exposed to hazardous situations weekly. They use sharp knives and slicers during food preparation.
- Are often exposed to contaminants, diseases, and infections.
- Must be very exact in performing the job. This is very important when calculating the nutritional needs of patients.
- Must repeat the same mental and physical tasks.
- Make decisions that affect their patients.
- Must meet strict daily and weekly deadlines.
- Can make most decisions without talking to a supervisor.
- Can set some tasks and goals without talking to a supervisor.
- Work a regular 40 hour week.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Stand or walk for long periods of time.
- Bend or twist their body.
- Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.