Nursing Laws: Nursing scopes of practice commonly state that Nurses are allowed to use therapeutic modalities to support patient health. This language is vague and broad, and use of nutrition tools is not specifically named. As a result, the law can be interpreted as including or not including nutrition care.
Nutrition Laws: Nutrition licensing laws commonly have exemptions providing varying degrees of protection for licensed health care providers who offer nutrition care. Exemptions within nutrition laws generally fall into one of the following three categories:
- No protection unless nutrition is explicitly named in a provider’s corresponding scope of practice
- Protection for licensed health care providers using nutrition to augment their primary profession
- Full protection by virtue of being a licensed health professional in the state in which a provider is practicing
When can you use nutrition tools in your practice:
IIf your nutrition state law outlines a licensure with exclusive scope of practice but:
- The law includes an exemption clause, acknowledging that health professions can practice nutrition to the extent to which it is outlined in the respective scopes of practice, and
- Your state’s nursing law explicitly outlines nutrition care,
- The law includes an exemption clause, acknowledging that health professions can practice nutrition secondary to their primary profession
then you can use nutrition tools as an adjunct to your nursing practice.
If your nutrition state law outlines a licensure with exclusive scope of practice but:
- The law exempts health professionals licensed in that state,
then you can legally use nutrition tools in your nursing practice.
If the nutrition law in your state is a licensure without exclusive scope of practice then you can practice nutrition care without being certified/licensed as a nutrition care provider. However, if specific title protections exists in the law, you may not use any protected title in advertising or practice.
Because both Nurse Pracitioner laws and Nutrition laws vary state to state, you must check the state laws for each profession where you practice to determine whether you can legally provide nutrition advice.
Disclaimer: This information represents a preliminary interpretation of state statutes, and cannot be substituted for legal counsel.