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Stuck deciding on a career. Nursing or Dietician

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Hello, first time posting here.

I’ve been considering changing my major from nutrition & dietetics to nursing. My original goal was to become a Registered Dietician but in my last semester at my CC. I started to take an interest in nursing. The prerequisites for nutrition & nursing majors are the same & taking classes with many nursing students opened my eyes & interest for nursing. Now I graduated with an AS-T in nutrition & dietetics & transferred to a really good university here in Ca but I’m really considering switching majors & apply to ADN nursing schools. Also learning that in order to become a Registered Dietician a masters will be required in 2024 & the unpaid ~1 yr internship really discouraged me. I’ve also been reading that the pay & job opportunities for Registered Dietician is not that good. If I’m investing so much time & money in a career, I want a good investment back. Any advice from current RNs & RDs is truly appreciate. Thank you!

I'm under the impression that the job opportunities in CA for new grad nurses aren't that great either...but I don't live there so I'm sure somebody else will chime in.

Sour Lemon

Has 11 years experience.

14 hours ago, Thesky_isthe_limit said:

Hello, first time posting here.

I’ve been considering changing my major from nutrition & dietetics to nursing. My original goal was to become a Registered Dietician but in my last semester at my CC. I started to take an interest in nursing. The prerequisites for nutrition & nursing majors are the same & taking classes with many nursing students opened my eyes & interest for nursing. Now I graduated with an AS-T in nutrition & dietetics & transferred to a really good university here in Ca but I’m really considering switching majors & apply to ADN nursing schools. Also learning that in order to become a Registered Dietician a masters will be required in 2024 & the unpaid ~1 yr internship really discouraged me. I’ve also been reading that the pay & job opportunities for Registered Dietician is not that good. If I’m investing so much time & money in a career, I want a good investment back. Any advice from current RNs & RDs is truly appreciate. Thank you!

You will hear from mostly nurses on this site, as it's a site for nurses. I know very little about dietitians.

Nursing would seem to have more range, but I can't be sure. Have you looked at any nursing programs in your area? They can be extremely competitive, which is something else to consider. It's not always as easy as "deciding" to switch.

Undercat, BSN, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in Retired. Has 41 years experience.

Does anyone get hired any more in Ca. without a BSN?

EDNURSE20, BSN

Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op. Has 4 years experience.

If you spend enough time on the this website, you will nursing is a tough career choice. Many student don’t realise the bulls**t you go threw until they graduate. So hearing from Just nursing students, ofcourse theyll have nothing but good things to stay about the job.

if your main reason for changing to nursing is money, then def don’t do it. You Won’t be happy, and chance are you’ll be wanting to change career in a couple of years.

while money is important, having a job you actually enjoy is more important. You are lucky enough to go to school and choose your career, don’t waste your time/money on something that won’t satisfy you.

Sour Lemon

Has 11 years experience.

4 hours ago, Undercat said:

Does anyone get hired any more in Ca. without a BSN?

Yes. I moved to California with two years of experience and an ASN. I've been hired on the spot for the two jobs I applied and interviewed for. A third application I put out also resulted in a call, but I chose not to pursue it.

For context, I work in small hospitals on med/surg and behavioral health units, which is exactly what I want to do. A new graduate interested in a competitive specialty, or a specific employer, would probably be much better off with a BSN.

35 year nurse. Dietician hands down. I have a couple of them as friends and they really enjoy their jobs. And I would really advocate to look for a federal job. I retired from Indian Health Service and the dieticians loved their jobs there and found them very interesting and challenging. For instance, DM is 3x more prevalent in the Native American population than Caucasians. This is because they used to be more agrarian and hunter/gatherers and now we have fast food. Their genetics has not caught up with their lifestyle changes. I find that fascinating. I personally would not advocate for anyone to go into nursing. There are so many opportunities and career choices that won’t ruin you physically, emotionally, spiritually.

So I went through my undergrad for nutrition and did my internship. I did a distance internship, which could have played a huge part in my outlook, but here is why I switched to nursing:

1. The internship I did offered very little support compared to the amount of work they required. I had about 3X the workload that my friends in a traditional DI had.

2. Throughout undergrad I worked at several different dietetics-based jobs. Hospitals, long term care facilities, cafeterias... at every single place, the dietitians there seemed like they were competitors rather than coworkers. It was a very strange environment. (I’ll add that I was a non traditional student with prior experience in the workforce).

3. I researched different dietitian jobs in my area. Most were 6 days a week, and the pay wasn’t that great for requiring a masters degree. Or the opposite, occasionally the only available jobs were PRN (I have about 5 major hospitals within 40 minutes of me and many small ones).

I went into nursing school with the intention of still working in diabetes education, but with better hours (3 12 hour shifts!!). Now I’m a semester in and have considered several different specialties I might want to work in.

I guess my point is that nurses have so many more options than dietitians. Travel options, scheduling, more work from home, more specialties.

CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 3 years experience.

I love nursing. My FQHC also has a dietician and she’s wonderful and I think she also loves her job. Hers is slower-paced than the nurses. She has a lot of time to spend with her clients. Also, she teaches a LOT of classes, which usually have about 8 people at a time. The nurses generally don’t do that, so it’s something to consider if you’d enjoy that or not.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

All I can tell you is.. nursing is brutal work. I had no idea that R.D. took so much effort. I can tell you I was jealous of the dietician.

Good luck with your decision.

I want to thank everyone of you who took the time to reply to my post. Thank you for all for the input & advice!

Edited by Thesky_isthe_limit

On 8/19/2020 at 4:06 PM, Nutrition2Nurse said:

So I went through my undergrad for nutrition and did my internship. I did a distance internship, which could have played a huge part in my outlook, but here is why I switched to nursing:

1. The internship I did offered very little support compared to the amount of work they required. I had about 3X the workload that my friends in a traditional DI had.

2. Throughout undergrad I worked at several different dietetics-based jobs. Hospitals, long term care facilities, cafeterias... at every single place, the dietitians there seemed like they were competitors rather than coworkers. It was a very strange environment. (I’ll add that I was a non traditional student with prior experience in the workforce).

3. I researched different dietitian jobs in my area. Most were 6 days a week, and the pay wasn’t that great for requiring a masters degree. Or the opposite, occasionally the only available jobs were PRN (I have about 5 major hospitals within 40 minutes of me and many small ones).

I went into nursing school with the intention of still working in diabetes education, but with better hours (3 12 hour shifts!!). Now I’m a semester in and have considered several different specialties I might want to work in.

I guess my point is that nurses have so many more options than dietitians. Travel options, scheduling, more work from home, more specialties.

Hello Nutrituon2Nurse,

Thank you very much for your input! If you don't mind I do have alot of questions I would like to ask you. Based on all the schooling required to become an RD (bachelors, 50% chance on getting into the DI, the year long unpaid DI & now the masters) do you now think that becoming an RD is a good investment? If you had to do it all over, would you? I’ve heard that they don't get paid well & not much opportunities are present. I’m a single mom of 2 & I don’t have that $$ to be throwing around for a degree thats not gonna have a good investment back. At my univ, they try to encourage more ppl to go into this profession & keep them hopeful but honestly when I look up on Indeed for any job postings. There’s not much & have crazy requirements & little pay.