Nurses role in nutrition

Nurses Role in Nutrition

Submitted By:
Bartholomew - Multimedia Lead
Jody - Content Editor
Biola - Design Lead
Kelly - Project Manager
Class: HLSC 1300U
Assignment: Group Wiki
Due Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Teacher: Nancy

Nurses Role In Nutrition

Why is nutrition so important and what is the nurse’s role in nutrition? Nutrition is essential because it’s required for growth, healing and all body functions. The nurse’s role in nutrition is to educate patients about good nutrition to promote health. In this research paper we will be discussing the nurse’s role in nutrition and strategies that can be implemented in the hospital, nursing home and community. (Bartholomew)

Nutrition is believed to be a key issue for healthcare professionals in hospital settings, yet the management of nutritional problems is often poor. According to O’Regan (2009) “nutrition should be viewed as an integral and central component of patient care irrespective of the patient’s physical diagnosis, condition, age or psychological status” (p. 35). A failure to address the issue of malnutrition is a failure of the duty of nurses to protect the health of patients. In hospital environments, nurses are obliged to make observations about physical status, food intake, weight changes and response to therapy. (Biola)

Nursing Home
The nurse’s role in nutrition can affect the nutritional status of residents of a nursing home. Many nutritional issues arise in residents of a nursing home. Nurses play a major role in ensuring that the resident’s nutritional needs are met. Documenting changes in weight loss, decreased appetite, oral health, and physical activity are examples of the important role that we play in our evaluation of the nutritional status of our patient. Morley and Silver (1995) raise the important fact that “Without input from staff, the physician is not likely to be successful in evaluation and treatment” (p. 853). It is important that we include nutrition as we evaluate our patients and plan their care. Authors, Morley and Silver (1995), stressed “Careful attention to the nutritional of nursing home residents is both a clinical and a quality-of-life issue” (p. 850). (Jody)

My comments are based on an article that was written about nutrition in the UK community. People in the community that was studied show their lack of knowledge when they make poor food choices. A large proportion of patients in the UK community suffer from malnutrition. Kings Fund and MeRec states that, “Malnutrition occurs when an individual's nutrient intake falls short of metabolic requirements” (as cited in Wright, 2006, p. 44). Wright (2006) discusses that, malnutrition can cause loss of weight, heart dysfunction, a weak immune system and decreased wound healing (p. 44). The nurse’s role in nutrition is to educate patients on how to improve eating habits to promote good health. UK patients are encouraged to eat nutritionally balanced meals throughout the day. Wright (2006) suggests, “Aim for six small meals or nourishing snacks each day” (p. 46). UK patients were encouraged to stabilize their weight and improve their appetite by doing light exercise before meals. UK patients were also encouraged to drink lots of fluids. Wright (2006) advises, “at least six drinks (mug or large glass) a day if possible” (p. 46). Lastly good oral hygiene is recommended in order for the patient to enjoy the taste of the food their eating. (Wright, pp. 44-50) (Bartholomew)


To effectively manage and prevent malnutrition in either setting, it is important to recognize the barriers to nutritional care for patients. According to Dupertuis as cited by O'Regan (2009) inadequate nutrition can lead to an increase in hospitalization and mortality. As nurses provide nutritional care for patients in each of these settings, they should be educated on the importance of nutrition and the healing process to assist patients in avoiding a failure to thrive diagnosis. (Kelly)

external image canada_food_guide_2.jpg

Figure 1. Canada’s Food Guide, Canada (n.d.). Sourse:




Canada’s Food Guide
[Online Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Morley, E. J., & Silver, J. A. (1995), Nutritional issues in nursing home care. Annals of Internal Medicine, 123(11), 850-859. Retrieved from

O'Regan, P. (2009). Nutrition for patients in hospital. Nursing Standard, 23(23), 35-41. Retrieved from

Wright, J. (2006). Maintaining optimum nutrition. Journal of Community Nursing, 20(11), 44-
50. Retrieved from
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