Dietic Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Dietic Assistant, or Dietic Support Worker assists qualified Dietitians with the assessment, treatment and monitoring of patients with dietary and nutritional problems. Their duties include delivering first-line advice to patients, assisting in menu planning and coordinating home care for patients.

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Dietic Assistant duties and responsibilities

The exact duties of a Dietic Assistant depend on their work environment. A Dietic Assistant who is part of a paediatric team in a hospital, for instance, may assist children who are being tube-fed or receiving infant formulae. In contrast, other Dietic Assistants may visit schools and community settings to educate people on diet and nutrition.  Generally, their key duties include:

  • Assisting with the basic nutritional screening and assessment of clients, including taking body measurements and calculating body mass index
  • Calculating and monitoring food intake and discussing nutritional plans with patients
  • Recording a patient’s fluid and food intakes in medical case notes
  • Documenting observations from nursing notes, such as patients’ temperatures 
  • Delivering nutritional supplements to patients
  • Informing the nursing staff of the dietary requirements of patients
  • Ensuring that patients or clients follow nutritional support plans and informing Dietitians of any issues
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What does a Dietic Assistant do?

Dietic Assistants provide comprehensive support to Dietitians. They assist in delivering the appropriate nutritional care to patients or clients, which may include monitoring a patient’s food or showing patients how to use feeding tubes and pumps. Dietic Assistants also ensure the smooth running of a dietic department or service by providing organisational and administrative support. Such duties may include record-keeping and the tracking and ordering of supplies and equipment. Although Dietic Assistants often work with sick patients in hospitals, they can also work in other settings where they help healthy clients who may want to lose weight or have food allergies.

Dietic Assistant skills and qualifications

Dietic Assistants interact with people throughout their working day. Apart from working closely together with Dietitians and other healthcare professionals, Dietic Assistants have a lot of direct contact with patients. To successfully navigate this aspect of the job, Dietic Assistants need excellent interpersonal skills. A successful Dietic Assistant candidate will also have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • Strong communication skills, which include the ability to actively listen and clearly relay information
  • The ability to collaborate with others in a team
  • Computer literacy, including a working knowledge of relevant software programs, such as Microsoft Office
  • A genuine desire to help others and a patient-focused approach when dealing with clients
  • High medical ethics, including maintaining client or patient confidentiality

Dietic Assistant experience requirements

The level of experience required for a Dietic Assistant depends on the position. Employers may ask that candidates show previous experience in working in a dietic department or related healthcare setting. Others may be prepared to take on candidates with no experience and provide them with comprehensive on-the-job training. Depending on the position, candidates may need specific experience, such as experience in working with cancer patients or with the elderly. 

Dietic Assistant education and training requirements

There are no set education or training requirements for this occupation. Candidates typically need a few GCSEs, including English and maths, to prove they have the necessary literacy and numeracy skills for the job. Candidates can develop their professional skills and knowledge by completing relevant qualifications in healthcare. Examples include an NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services or a Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support. A professional body like the British Dietetic Association (BDA) also offers a range of relevant courses for Healthcare Support Workers.

Dietic Assistant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Dietic Assistant in the U.K. is £25,231 per year. Salaries vary, depending on factors like location and level of experience.

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Dietic Assistant job description FAQs

What are the hours of a Dietic Assistant?

Dietic Assistants often have regular Monday to Friday, 40-hour work schedules. However, the job may also involve more unsocial hours. Those who visit patients at their homes or do community work, for instance, may need to adapt their hours according to the availability of their clients. Additionally, Dietic Assistants who work in hospitals may work shifts.

Which institutions and companies can benefit from hiring a Dietic Assistant?

Dietic Assistants work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, the community, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centres and educational institutions.

What's the difference between a Dietic Assistant and a Dietic Assistant Practitioner?

Although the duties and responsibilities of these two occupations overlap considerably, they are distinct roles. A Dietic Assistant Practitioner has a wider remit of responsibilities, which include certain tasks that a Dietitian would typically perform.

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