How important is it for nurses to have knowledge of Nutrition?

  1. 0
    Hello Nurses!

    I recently graduated with a degree in nutrition, with an option in dietetics. I have always loved studying nutrition, but during my Senior year of school i realized dietetics was not the field for me. I have chosen to become a nurse and will be starting an accelerated program in June.

    I would like to ask the nurses on this forum how much they use their knowledge of nutrition; do you feel that it is a necessary subject to have mastered? or do you think nurses should know more? I'm curious to know if my degree is wasted, or if it will be an advantage for me to have.


    Thanks for all your input!
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    YES! Very important. With the increase in obesity especially. I work in the schools, so use nutritional knowledge daily. I also work with diabetic students, so do alot of extra education in that area related to nutrition. Where you end up working as a nurse will probably dictate how much you use your nutrition degree.
    loriangel14 likes this.
  5. 1
    No your education is not wasted. Most nurses know the basics of nutrition but depending on what your specility is, nutrition can play a huge role. If you decide to work in wound healing, diabetics, cardiac or just about other area, having such an impressive background will help you alot. You've also taken lots of A&P, microbiology etc type of classes too and that will help. You've also learned good study habits that will make your life a little easier. Good luck.
    loriangel14 likes this.
  6. 0
    Hospitals, LTCs, ALFs have dietician. They will handle the nutrition part for the most part. You will have plenty to do just trying to do your nursing stuff.
  7. 1
    Im a student, yet I'll weigh in It's VERY important! If you have a patient come in with a K+ level of 3.2, it will be important for you to be able to tell them dietary ways to keep their potassium at optimal levels. Also, the majority of your patients will have weight issues, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease....nutrition counsel will be much needed in those patients
    loriangel14 likes this.
  8. 1
    When I was taking the prerequisites for nursing school, there was only one local nursing school out of many that still required Nutrition as a prerequisite. Since I wanted to apply to that school, I took the class, but felt somewhat resentful because I really didn't think it would be useful. Until I actually took the class -- I found it fascinating, enjoyed the reading, got an A+. I'm still finding it to be one of the most useful classes -- I use the knowledge I gained in that class all the time. Yes it's true that hospitals have dieticians on staff, but I still felt it benefitted me to understand what the dieticians were doing. And now that I'm working in public health, understanding nutrition is incredibly useful to me.

    So yes, your knowledge of nutrition will be useful in your nursing career.
    loriangel14 likes this.
  9. 3
    Very important - I see the need in ICU a lot.
    Patient with chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease - poor nutritional status and intake exacerbate their disease process, as well as the wrong intake...
    As well as those who come in (esp. the frail elderly) with PCM, low albumin, etc. for a multitude of reasons.
    The importance of tube feeds for critically ill (and which one to choose). As nurses, we advocate to START tube feeds a lot, it is sometimes overlooked for patients on vents.
    Re-feeding syndrome. Monitoring lytes.
    Realizing how some drug therapies will be affected by low albumin.
    Bio-chemistry related to nutrition should (I hope) be useful when analysing electrolyte, fluid, and acid-base imbalances.
    Your degree will give you a great background!
  10. 0
    And yes, I had several NCLEX questions on renal diet when I took boards!
  11. 2
    A background in dietetics would be wonderful as a Nurse. Nutrition is the most important factor in wound care. You could easily go beyond being a nurse by also being a WOCN - I believe they are in short supply and high demand. Whenever I need info on Nutrition, I hit the books or the internet, cause the Docs don't do nutrition and I do a lot of wounds.
    loriangel14 and Tina, RN like this.
  12. 0
    In general, yes important. To my particular specialty (NICU), not important at all.


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