Nutritionists take a lot of criticism - conferences that revolve around Yogic flying instructors and actresses who think their breast milk has "otherworldly power" will do that to your field, but there is at least one way to know if someone knows what they are talking about - multidisciplinary health care professionals who hold the Certified Nutrition Support Credential (CNSC) scored significantly higher on a survey about their approaches to nutrition support practice than those who do not hold the credential according to new study. Multidisciplinary may be more important than the CSNC, if it means actual knowledge of biology and medicine.

The study, results of which were published today in the OnlineFirst version of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), the research journal of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), was targeted to health care professionals affiliated with A.S.P.E.N. The electronic survey used for the study included eight multiple choice knowledge questions that addressed evidence-based nutrition support practice issues for a patient with progressing pancreatitis.

Respondents with the CNSC answered 6.18 of eight questions correctly as compared to non-CNSC respondents who answered 4.56 questions correctly. For all eight questions, CNSC respondents were significantly more likely to choose the correct answer as compared to non-CNSC respondents. The fact that the CNSC respondents answered 20% more of the questions correctly is a clinically meaningful difference considering each question addressed a specific safe nutrition support practice. The majority of those who took the survey were dietitians (70.8 percent) in nutrition support practice for 10 years, and 29 percent held the CNSC.

Based on these results, the researchers recommend that future research should explore the benefit of the CNSC on safe and efficacious nutrition support care by evaluating changes in patient care outcomes in health care settings.