Masters in Nursing Nutrition
One of the primary roles for any advanced practice nursing specialty is education. MSN graduates who specialize in pediatrics, in diabetes treatment, in oncology, and in gerontology find that a substantial amount of their work is educational in nature. Such is the case with a graduate of Masters in Nursing/Nutrition. The MSN in Nutrition is the medical management perspective on dietary issues; a critical role in light of the rising concern over obesity in the United States. Dieticians have the job of developing healthy meals for patients in medical or long term care facilities, but it is the nurse who specializes in nutrition that provides the training and treatment designed to keep patients on a healthy eating track.
Some schools offer a Master of Nursing in Nutrition and Dietetics, combining the two related fields so that graduates can work in a management position for nutrition services within healthcare systems. Combining advanced practice nursing with nutrition training creates a professional who can pinpoint dietary issues that may be associated with medical problems, whereas a dietician has more generalized training in proper nutrition without the cautionary elements that a healthcare education provides. Careers in this field include jobs working in long term care facilities or in home health care agencies that provide in-home counseling and treatment. In many cases nutrition can be an issue for a household with chronically ill residents struggling to make ends meet.
There are master's programs in public health with concentration on nutrition, which provide another perspective on the value of nutritional education. But many Masters in Nursing/Nutrition graduates work for public health agencies or in settings where public health and nutrition intersect such as centers for the elderly or programs that offer social services to families and children. Nutritional education for families on a limited budget can be crucial in an era where one in three children is considered overweight or obese. Some nurses with nutritional expertise work for large medical practices that have incorporated an educational component into their family treatment or pediatrics sections, offering counseling and materials on nutrition and its importance on sustaining good health.