The NCBDN licenses individuals to practice dietetics/nutrition. Per G.S. 90-352(2), dietetics/nutrition is defined as: “the integration and application of principles derived from the science of nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, food, and management and from behavioral and social sciences to achieve and maintain a healthy status. The primary function of dietetic/nutrition practice is the provision of nutrition care services.” Per 90-352(4), nutrition care services means any, part or all of the following:
This is the scope of practice for which the NCBDN provides licensure and the scope of practice the NCBDN regulates.
All licensees of the NCBDN are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics for Professional Practice and Conduct as outlined in 21 NCAC 17.0114. This includes, but is not limited to, assuming responsibility and accountability for personal competence in practice and recognizing and exercising professional judgment within the limits of the licensee’s qualifications and not accepting or performing professional responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not qualified to perform.
That being said, the Dietetics Practice Act does not directly address actions such as writing diet orders. What should a dietitian who has been asked to provide a service that is not addressed in the Dietetics Practice Act do? First, it is important to remember that although the licensing statute for dietitians/nutritionists may not cover such an act, the action the dietitian is considering may be within the scope of practice of another medical profession. Thus, dietitians should review N.C. Chapter 90, the statute covering all allied health fields in North Carolina. If it appears that the considered action is covered under another profession’s scope of practice, it would be prudent to contact that profession’s licensing board to find out if that board would consider the proposed action a violation of that particular profession’s scope of practice. If it is not a violation, and North Carolina’s licensure statute does not specifically address the considered action, dietitians should act in accordance with their facility’s policies and protocols.
Click here to download an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics PDF for further guidance.