Registration and Recognition

A health professional is characterized by the manner in which he/she practices their discipline.
Safe and competent practice is the key to recognition as a healthcare professional.
Complementing this is that the goal of professional regulation is patient safety.
Regulation is a mechanism for ensuring that the names on the public register represent a trusted and trustful profession.

In 2012 EFAD defined Professional Practice as the way professionals apply their specific expertise to particular cases and use their experiences systematically to build their expertise.
Professional practices are characterised by:

  • integrity
  • competence
  • accountability

Through the registration and regulation of a healthcare professional, a professional group can promote and ensure their integrity and competence. Professionalization requires commitment by all healthcare professionals to a Code of Conduct based on ethical values and principles. By being on a public register of competent professionals a healthcare professional an assure the public, other healthcare colleagues, employers, and Governments that the work they undertake is evidence based, safe and competent.
As part of this accountability should a member of the profession not demonstrate professional integrity (e.g. continued professional development, safe or ethical practice) there is a mechanism for regulating the behaviour of the professional e.g. a process of discipline or remedial education.

Regulation is characterised by the following key elements being in place:

  • Legal protection of title
  • A public searchable list of registered dietitians
  • A mechanism for ensuring the continued competence of the dietitian
  • A mechanism for reporting and removing the title and recognition of registration due to misconduct

There may be a Regulator for dietitians or in many countries a Competent Authority assumes the role of ‘registration’ of the title of dietitian for those who have undergone a prescribed programme of studies (although these may not meet European Dietetic Competence Standards).

The European Commission currently is emphasising professional mobility in Europe and especially in the area of health. To make sure that the dietetic profession is a well regulated, safe profession, no matter which country the dietitian is practicing in, it is important that;

  • There is a national public register available to check the competence of the dietetic practitioner (or a searchable European database)
  • All dietitians are educated and trained to the same standard (therefore practice is comparable across Europe)
  • There is a mechanism for reporting incompetence and safeguarding the public from unsafe advice – possibly across Europe.


Full report

In the first half of 2014 the Professional Practice Committee (PPC) and Education and Lifelong Learning Committee (ELLLC) developed a survey with the objective to establish a data base of the current status of dietetic registration, regulation and Lifelong Learning in EFAD member countries.
You can read the Full report here.

Executive Summary

Summary of the report


Roadmap to a regulated profession - practical examples:

The Netherlands, including explanation about the roadmap