Every RD is a Nutritionist. But NOT every Nutritionist is a RD.
What is this new credential they are calling a “RDN”?
Well, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Board of Directors and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) have recently approved the optional use of the credential “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” (RDN) used by Registered Dietitians now.
The new optional RDN credential will not affect licensure or other state regulations. Plus many state licensure/certification laws already use the term “Nutritionist” (i.e.: LDN or CDN)
Many people, and especially RDs, are wondering why the Academy is offering this new credential. The reasoning behind this is to further enhance the RD brand and more accurately reflect to consumers who RDs are and what they do. This makes sense, when the Academy puts it like this…
This will distinguish the demanding credential requirements and focus that all RDs are Nutritionists but NOT all Nutritionists are RDs.
The inclusion of the word “Nutritionist” in the credential itself, communicates a larger concept of wellness and treatment of conditions. This option is also consistent with the inclusion of the word “nutrition” in the Academy’s new name. Again, this makes sense and definitely seems innovative for the future of the Academy.
There is an increased awareness of the Academy’s role as a key organization in food and nutrition by media, government agencies, allied health organizations and consumers. This provides additional rationale for the incorporation of the word “nutrition” into the RD credential resulting in the optional RDN credential.
But, here lies a substantial question… Was there any AND member input considered?
In 2010, the Academy began exploring the option of offering the RDN credential. It was supported by participants in the 2011 Future Connections Summit and most recently by the Council on Future Practice in its 2012 Visioning Report. The recommendation was shared and discussed in the House of Delegates at the Fall 2012 meeting. The 2013 joint meeting of the major organizational units (CDR, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), Council on Future Practice, Education Committee, and Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Preceptors (DPG)) supported moving forward.
But here is my question- Do RDs have to use the RDN credential now?
No. The RDN credential is offered as an option to RDs who want to emphasize the nutrition aspect of their credential to the public and to other health practitioners. Plus, the new RDN credential has the exact same meaning and legal trademark definitions as the RD credential.
The credentials should be used, identical as a RD credential.
So, for example: Jess Brantner, RD = Jess Brantner, RDN. —-> (In time my friends… In good time)
The new RDN credential should be prioritized just like a RD credential, when other credentials are involved. So, 1st– Graduate degree credential, 2nd– RDN or RD, 3rd– special certifications with the CDR (CSSD, CSO, CSP, CSG, CSR), 4th– licensure designation or other certifications like Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).
Here is the twist to my story- the CDR registration identification cards WILL include both the RD AND RDN credentials. So, be on the lookout for your 2013-2014 CDR registration identification cards, because it will have both credentials listed! But, don’t worry about costs, because there will be no additional fee for all these changes.
The opportunity to use the RDN credential is offered to RDs who want to directly convey the nutrition aspects of their training and expertise.
“This option reflects who Registered Dietitians are and what we do,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Ethan Bergman. “The message for the public is: Look for the RD – and now, the RDN – credential when determining who is the best source of safe and accurate nutrition information,” Bergman says. “All Registered Dietitians are Nutritionists, but not all Nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. So when you’re looking for qualified food and nutrition experts, look for the RD or RDN credential.”