Update on Nutrition Support Certification
Charles Mueller, PhD, RD, CNSD
The National Board of Nutrition Support Certification (NBNSC) has recently modified its nutrition support certification program. The modifications reflect current nutrition support practice by professionals, including physicians, dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, and physician assistants. The board surveyed a population of such professionals and concluded that the professions overwhelmingly agree that there is a common knowledge and skill set required for the safe and effective management of people receiving parenteral and/or enteral nutrition. Based on this survey, NBNSC has elected to provide one exam to all professionals to qualify them as certified nutrition support clinicians. By virtue of passing the exam, these professionals can use the credential Certified Nutrition Support Clinician or CNSC. The credential is renewable every five years.
Previously, the NBNSC program certified physicians, dietitians, and nurses with different exams using the credentials Certified Nutrition Support Physician (CNSP), Dietitian (CNSD), and Nurse (CNSN). The CNSC credential is being offered to physicians, dietitians, and nurses in 2008, and additionally to pharmacists and physician assistants in 2009. The CNSP, CNSD, and CNSN credentials were also renewable every five years and will remain valid for their full five-year period, after which professionals can renew their certification with the CNSC credential.
Oley members probably know that there are nutrition support health care experts in all of these professions because they have worked with any number of them. The area of nutrition support is one of the first models for interdisciplinary care and practice among health care providers. Indeed, the membership of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) comes from all these professions, and the activities of the society in disseminating practice standards and research findings have long reflected this distinct practice model, whether it be in the form of nutrition support teams or standards of practice that apply to all professionals who practice in nutrition support.
NBNSC is confident that these changes in the certification program reflect actual practice and as such are in the best interest of nutrition support clients in all settings, including the hospital, home, and other long-term care setting.
Dr. Mueller is the president of NBNSC.