Professional Performance Competencies

The Nutrition Manager

The Competency Standards for the Nutrition Manager were developed and adopted by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management and the Canadian Dietetic Association in 1990. The following definitions and description for their use are fundamental to the interpretation of the competencies.

A Nutrition Manager is a multi skilled technically competent practitioner who is eligible for membership in The Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM).

The Nutrition Manager, as described by this definition, may use several titles. Other job or position titles may include a combination of the following terms: nutrition manager/ food service/ dietary/ dietetic/ dietetique and supervisor/ technologist/ technician. For these standards, the term Nutrition Manager applies to any of these titles, assuming that the individual being described meets the admission criteria for The Canadian Society of Nutrition Management.

The role of the Nutrition Manager is to incorporate knowledge and skills in coordinating and managing operations of the Food/Nutrition Services Department, enabling management to meet and maintain the prime goal of quality, cost effective nutrition services. This person may have direct responsibility for the total or partial food service operation, responsible to the Department Head or Administrator.

This definition indicates that the scope of the nutrition manager's responsibilities may vary with the size and type of facility involved. The management role includes not only food service systems but also the nutritional care of clients. Responsibilities may include various degrees of participation in assessing, implementing, and evaluating nutritional care plans, depending on the facility policies and procedures. The nutrition manager reports to a senior supervisor, a manager, a dietitian or an administrator, depending on the levels of management in the facility.

The areas of practice for a Nutrition Manager include:

  • health care facilities - acute, chronic, rehabilitation, and long term care
  • commercial catering services
  • government agencies
  • colleges, schools, and universities
  • hospitality industry
  • consulting services
  • private practice

Role Delineation

The role of Nutrition Managers has evolved since the inception of the programs across the country. The scope of practice for Nutrition Managers in terms of clinical nutrition can be defined as follows:

The Nutrition Manager works with the Registered Dietitians to provide nutrition care to patients/clients. The Nutrition Manager is responsible for patients at low to moderate nutrition risk. The Nutrition Manager is a liaison between foodservice and clinical nutrition.


Low risk -
 Patients/clients at low nutritional risk are stable and have predictable outcomes. Nutrition intervention will result in maintenance of nutritional status or health promotion. Nutrition Manager works independently with patients/clients at low nutritional risk.

Moderate risk - Nutrition intervention for patients/clients at moderate nutrition risk results in improved nutritional status or decreased progression/stabilization of the condition. Nutrition Manager works collaboratively with Registered Dietitian for patients at moderate nutritional risk. The Nutrition Manager levels of involvement will be determined by patient complexity and Nutrition Manager experience.

High risk - Nutrition intervention for patients at high nutritional risk is a central treatment and will influence recovery and survival. Nutrition Managers complete delegated tasks supervised by the Registered Dietitian.

Entry-level Competencies

Competencies are statements of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. The competency profile comprises the competencies required by a nutrition manager to be eligible for membership in CSNM. This stage is considered to be entry-level and is the minimum level of competence required for graduation from an approved or accredited nutrition management program.

The competency profile includes the following eight areas of competence which represent the categories of skills, knowledge and behaviour common to all nutrition managers.

1.0 Professionalism
2.0 Quality Management
3.0 Nutrition and Healthy Living
4.0 Clinical Nutrition
5.0 Food Service Systems Management
6.0 Human Resources Management
7.0 Financial/Business Management
8.0 Marketing and Promotion

Competency statements are listed for each area of competence, and are numbered for that area of competence. The standards for each competency statement describe in more detail the knowledge, skills or behaviours which contribute to the competency. All standards within a competency are numbered according to that competency, e.g. 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3, etc. for competency 1.2. The competency statements and standards have been designed to follow the phrase "The entry-level nutrition manager is able to ....".

The standards can be measured using established criteria. For accreditation of programs, the knowledge and performance indicators are appropriate criteria. For other purposes, such as evaluating the competence of a practising nutrition manager, the criteria may be related to the practices and responsibilities of nutrition managers in a specific province or type of facility. The criteria must be consistent with government and facility policies and regulations and accepted standards of care.


Client refers to all consumers using the services of the facility including patients, residents, their families or associates, and customers.

Competence is the quality of being able to perform the role of a specified position with requisite knowledge, ability, skill, judgement, attitudes and values.

Competencies are statements of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. The competency profile comprises the competencies required by a nutrition manager to be eligible for membership in CSNM.

Coordinate is to exchange information with others, generally of equal rank, to relate and adjust systems or programs.

Demonstrate is to give evidence of, display, explain, illustrate, show with the intent of proving.

Describe is to tell or write about, give a detailed account of.

Diet history is the tool and a process by which data describing a client's past and/or current food intake and behaviours are collected. The tool may include food records, diet recalls, food frequency questionnaires, etc. to estimate the usual patterns of food and nutrient intake, variations in patterns, and the factors affecting them.
Entry-level describes a position which requires the minimum level of competence required to practice as a nutrition manager. This level of competence is expected of all graduates from an approved or accredited nutrition manager education program. With additional experience and continuing education, additional responsibilities can be assumed, requiring higher levels of competence.

Nutrition Manager is a multi skilled person who is eligible for membership in The Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM). The nutrition manager, as described by this definition, may use several titles. Other job or position titles may include a combination of the following terms: nutrition manager/ food service/ dietary/ dietetic/ dietetique and supervisor/ technologist/ technician. For these standards, the term nutrition manager applies to any of these titles.

Food service systems management is the process of coordinating and integrating the resources within the subsystems and the total system to accomplish the food service objectives.

Health care team is a group of health professionals with a variety of skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes who work together to solve health problems.

Identify is to establish the identity of; distinguish, discriminate, recognize.

Implement is to accomplish, fulfill, complete, carry out, and put into effect.

Nutritional care is the application of the science and art of human nutrition in helping people to nourish their bodies during all aspects of the life cycle through the provision of nutrition counselling and the provision of food.

Nutritional care plan is a program of strategies and actions, based on individual assessment, to assist the client in meeting nutritional needs.

Nutritional screening refers to procedures used to identify clients who are at increased risk for malnutrition. For these clients more detailed assessment is required to define the extent of nutritional problems and plan and implement appropriate nutritional support.

Participate means to take part in an activity, either in response to direction or by initiating the action. The degree of involvement or responsibility will depend on the employment situation.

Performance indicators are statements which describe skills and behavioural objectives which contribute to the competency standards. These are examples of criteria for assessing the standards which suggest the level and scope of performance appropriate for the standard.

Policy is a general rule of action to define the boundaries within which decisions are made; to provide guidance towards the accomplishment of goals.

Procedure is a specific guide to action relating the manner in which activities are to be performed to attain an objective.

Quality assurance
refers to all measures undertaken to establish and maintain a reasonable level of food service and nutritional care.

Risk management is a process for identifying and minimizing the actual and potential sources of loss to the person or property of anyone involved with the program, service, or operation.

Supervise is to give direct orders and instructions followed up by personal observation of activities of subordinates; carry our assignments through subordinates.

Utilization review is a dynamic ongoing process to maintain and improve the quality of care or service through review of the appropriateness of care or service and the efficient utilization of resources to provide that care/service.


Competency 1.0 Professionalism

1.1.0 Practice in accordance with Canadian Society of Nutrition Management Code of Ethics.

1.1.1   Participate in activities to gain knowledge, skills and behaviors.
1.1.2   Identify and address conflict of interest situations.
1.1.3   Identify and address situations of confidentiality.
1.1.4   Apply and assess problem solving and decision making processes.
1.1.5   Identify management styles and leadership skills.
1.1.6   Manage time effectively.
1.1.7   Demonstrate accountability for action.
1.1.8   Follow established dress and work codes.
1.1.9   Demonstrate adaptability to new situations.
1.1.10 Demonstrate dependability and initiative.
1.1.11 Demonstrate effective verbal and non verbal communication skills.
1.1.12 Demonstrate effective written communication skills.
1.1.13 Participate in meetings.
1.1.14 Select the appropriate method of communication.
1.1.15 Utilize computers and other available electronic communication technology.
1.1.16 Demonstrate effective multimedia communication skills.

Competency 2.0 Quality Management

2.1.0 Participate in quality management

2.1.1   Participate in quality management programs.
2.1.2   Describe government standards related to quality management.
2.1.3   Correlate standard operating procedures with legal and HACCP requirements.
2.1.4   Analyze risks related to food hazards

Competency 3.0 Nutrition and Healthy Living

3.1.0 Demonstrate knowledge of normal nutrition.

3.1.1  Demonstrate knowledge of nutrient composition of foods.
3.1.2  Describe nutritional needs of the healthy population
3.1.3  Demonstrate knowledge of current issues in nutrition.

Competency 4.0 Clinical Nutrition

4.1.0 Participate in the provision of nutrition care.

4.1.1   Demonstrate knowledge of nutritional supplements.
4.1.2   Participate in routine nutritional screening.
4.1.3   Participate in the development and implementation of nutrition care plans.
4.1.4   Write modified menu according to the nutrition care plan.
4.1.5   Monitor client food intake and acceptance.
4.1.6   Interview and counsel clients according to established procedures.
4.1.7   Document client information according to established procedures.
4.1.8   Participate as a member of the health care team.

Competency 5.0 Food Service Systems Management

5.1.0 Participate in menu planning.

5.1.1   Plan menus according to established criteria and menu planning guidelines.
5.1.2   Adapt regular menus for modified diets.
5.1.3   Participate in purchasing, receiving, storing and inventory control.
5.1.4   Participate in inventory control.
5.1.5   Participate in equipment and small wares procurement.
5.1.6   Supervise food production.
5.1.7   Participate in recipe development and standardization.
5.1.8   Audit client meals for quality, portion control and accuracy.
5.1.9   Evaluate a cleaning and sanitation program.
5.1.10 Evaluate a preventative maintenance program.
5.1.11 Maintain/monitor/document standards for workplace safety and security.
5.1.12 Participate in the development /evaluation of plans and strategies for revenue generation.
5.1.13 Understand the principles behind goal setting and strategic planning.
5.1.14 Participate in the development and review of policies and procedures.
5.1.15 Recommend improvements in work flow and facility design.
5.1.16 Coordinate operational activities within the department and with other departments.
5.1.16 Investigate new preparation, service, products and technology.

Competency 6.0 Human Resources Management

6.1.0 Participate in human resource management.

6.1.1   Participate in recruiting, hiring, orienting, training, evaluating, disciplining and dismissal of personnel.
6.1.2   Maintain personnel records.
6.1.3   Participate in determining staffing needs.
6.1.4   Participate in the development and revision of job descriptions and performance standards.
6.1.5   Supervise personnel using appropriate management and motivational techniques.
6.1.6   Implement personnel, departmental and facility policies, collective agreement and pertinent government         legislation.
6.1.7   Identify training needs and staff development programs.
6.1.8   Participate in the provision of inservice education.

Competency 7.0 Financial/Business Management

7.1.0 Participate in the financial management of the department.

7.1.1   Identify financial management systems and pertinent government legislation.
7.1.2   Participate in the analysis and interpretation of financial statistics and performance indicators.
7.1.3   Participate in the development, evaluation and revision of budgets.
7.1.4   Participate in department strategic planning.

Competency 8.0 Marketing and Promotion

8.1.0 Participate in marketing initiatives.

8.1.1   Participate in development/evaluation of marketing initiatives..
8.1.2   Participate in activities to enhance the public’s knowledge of food and nutrition.

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