At Unidine, we employ and manage more than 400 Registered Dietitians (RDN) across the country in a variety of roles from clinical dietitians, clinical nutrition or operations managers, corporate nutrition leaders and even Vice President Positions. The skills of the RDN are vital to our business and what allow us to lead with our food and nutrition.
Unsure what a Registered Dietitian is? Registered Dietitians are food and nutrition experts that must meet the following to earn and maintain this credential:
- Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (starting in January 2024, new RDNs will be required to have a Master’s Degree)
- Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length.
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at cdrnet.org.
- Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
It is imperative for our organization to support our Registered Dietitians’ career growth, training, and continuing education. Since our RDNs work in a variety of settings, we have many avenues to attain clinical excellence and drive wellness initiatives in all of our locations.
- Robust onboarding to ensure the RDN knows the roles and responsibilities of their position, Unidine standards and expectations
- Free monthly continuing education webinars to earn a minimum of 12 CEUs per year
- Supports the cost of both state RDN licensing and CDR yearly dues
- Develop evidence-based clinical nutrition and wellness initiatives companywide
- Clinical mentoring to new RDNs or team members craving growth, professional development and skills enhancement
- Ensure our RDNs are clinically competent and trained to work within their scope of practice for their resident or patient population. Updated clinical standards and trainings released yearly on a variety of topics, for example: documentation and nutrition assessment for malnutrition identification, pressure injury management and enteral/parenteral feedings
- Support from the regional nutrition leadership team
- Monthly regional Nutrition update meetings to keep an open line of communication from a corporate level to the field
- Written communication on our Clinical Nutrition, Wellness, Regulatory trends and sustainability focus in our monthly internal newsletter, The BEET
- Pairing with a regional clinical mentor as part of onboarding in to make it easy to connect with peers
- Developing clinical and wellness champions regionally on Unidine’s Clinical Nutrition, Wellness and Sustainability programs
- Providing monthly curated “Live Healthy” nutrition education newsletters to showcase trending wellness-related topics
- Encouraging and supporting our RDs to get advanced certifications to expand their knowledge and expertise such as Certified Specialty in Gerontology (CSG), Certified Clinical Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and more
All of these components establish the foundation for our extraordinary RDNs to provide exceptional clinical nutrition and wellness care at each of the hospitals, senior living communities, and corporate dining locations we partner with.
Submitted by Ellen Lowre, RDN, LDN – VP Nutrition, Wellness and Sustainability
At Unidine, the Regional Directors of Nutrition support the development of dietitians through clinical documentation evaluation and teaching clinical skills to improve quality of care to the patients served. Our competency training for dietitians centers around performing the NFPE, documenting malnutrition criteria and obtaining a diagnosis of malnutrition so dietitians are prepared, knowledgeable and able to make informed interventions to improve patient outcomes.