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How to become a dietetic support worker

You can become a dietetic support worker by applying for a vacancy on our recruitment website or doing a Modern Apprenticeship.

What is a dietetic support worker?

Dietetic support workers have a vital role in helping dietitians assess, diagnose, treat, and care for patients with dietary problems or nutritional needs.

They also promote healthy lifestyle behaviours by delivering initiatives to individuals and groups that help them make positive changes to their diet and nutrition.

Starting your career as a dietetic support worker

Choosing subjects at school

To become a dietetic support worker, you'll need a good standard of education. There are no specific entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • Science
  • English
  • Health and Food Technology
  • Maths

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship will help you get the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to reach your career goal.

Learn about the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support Modern Apprentices study 3 mandatory units:

  • communication
  • health and safety
  • learning development

You'll choose your remaining units from the clinical pathway options for dietetics.

Get to know the role

Dietetic support workers help dietitians assess, diagnose and treat patients and review nutritional care plans.

They provide advice on the following:

  • good nutrition and hydration practices
  • using feeding tubes and pumps
  • making food choices from hospital menus

Tasks include: 

  • update patient records
  • enhance the nutrition and hydration of patients in hospital
  • carry out nutritional risk assessments
  • advise nurses and other healthcare professionals about patients' nutritional requirements
  • promote protected meal times
  • weigh patients
  • order supplies
  • monitor the use of nutritional supplements and resources

You'll need these skills:

  • caring 
  • communicating
  • collaborating
  • motivating people
  • problem-solving
  • relationship-building

Dietetic support workers work with other healthcare professionals, including: 

  • dietitians
  • physiotherapists
  • doctors
  • nurses
  • carers

You could work in: 

  • hospitals
  • the community
  • health centres

Learning and development

When joining the NHS, you will work through the Mandatory Induction Standards. These standards are designed to help you work safely and must be completed within the first 3 to 6 months of employment.

You'll develop your skills by working closely with dietitians and completing a supervised training programme.

You may also be encouraged while in the post to work towards further education qualifications. These may include:

Getting experience as a healthcare support worker can be helpful if you decide you want to go to university and study to become a registered dietitian.

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