Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) a health practitioner or practitioner means a person who is, or is deemed to be, registered with an authority as a practitioner of a particular health profession, i.e. a dietitian under the Dietitians Board of New Zealand.

Scope of Practice

From 1 April 2017 the Dietitians Board gazetted Scope of Practice: Dietitian is:

Dietitians are registered health practitioners who evaluate scientific evidence about food and nutrition and translate it into practical strategies. Dietitians work in partnership with individuals, whānau, communities and populations, in states of health and disease, to support optimal health and well-being.

Dietitians use their dietetic knowledge, skills, and judgement in a variety of contexts, which includes promoting and protecting public health, directing and delivering medical nutrition therapy services, and managing food and health systems. They may perform a variety of functions, including policy development, leadership, management, research, education, and communication roles.

Dietitians with a prescribing endorsement are able to prescribe Special Foods and approved nutrition-related medicines.

Dietitians are accountable for ensuring that their practice is consistent with the Dietitians Board’s competency requirements, Code of Ethics and Conduct, and relevant legislation.

Limitations may be put on this scope of practice e.g. being limited to working in a clinical domain of practice and/or being under a supervision condition.

Registration Competency Requirements (RCRs)

RCRs are statements, which describe the combination of learning outcomes: knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes required for successful performance as a dietitian.

The standards describe the minimum level of acceptable performance for a dietitian.

To be eligible to apply for registration an entry level dietitian is required to demonstrate achievement of the required standard in all competency areas. 

The learning outcomes have been grouped to reflect the domains of practice and the associated skills and abilities of New Zealand dietitians. It is the combination of these aspects, which define the role of the dietitian.

Restricted Activities

Certain Activities, which are noted for their ability to cause risk of harm to the public, were scheduled as RESTRICTED ACTIVITIES by the NZ Government under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (Restricted Activities) Order 2005, (SR 2005/182).

The Activity related to Dietetics is:

Prescribing of enteral or parenteral nutrition where the feed is administered through a tube into the gut or central venous catheter.