I am very familiar with my discipline’s code of ethics, as our instructors have exposed us to the document numerous times, as well as enforced the expectations throughout undergraduate coursework. As a graduate student, I have also had the privilege to work under a dietitian and take classes taught by dietitians as well. The Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics values honesty, integrity, and fairness. As dietetics practitioners, we are to conduct ourselves professionally and help the field move in a direction that benefits clients, the public, and the profession. We are expected to report violations to our Code of Ethics.
As an undergraduate student, I remember reading this document for the first time and being very surprised that it actually APPLIED to me. This code applies to practicing dietitians and dietetic technicians as well as all members of the American Dietetic Association (that’s me). I don’t think students realize that they are expected to adhere to these codes, despite student status. This is especially pertinent to those of us who are serving as student nutrition counselors as well.
Another part of this document that caught by eye was a statement about how dietetics practitioners should not endorse products in a misleading way. This is becoming increasingly important for dietitians to keep in mind with the nutrition information overload online. A lot of times, “foodie” instagrams or blogs will get sponsored by a company and if the dietitian practitioner promotes a product in a false way…there can be repercussions.
Another really important ethics guideline for my field is interpreting controversial information without personal bias. This is important when clients reveal information about themselves that the dietitian might not support or understand. However, we are still expected to maintain objectivity throughout the nutrition care process.
I think my discipline is doing a great job at upholding professional standards in the field of nutrition. There is a lot of nutrition information to sift through these days, as a lot of individuals claim to be knowledgeable on the internet. I would say, if anyone ever has serious questions about nutrition to seek the guidance of a dietitian because with our training and ethical foundation, we will not mislead you!