NCP 101

The Nutrition Care Process is a standardized model intended to guide registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered, in providing high-quality nutrition care.

What is the Nutrition Care Model?

The Nutrition Care Model is a graphic visualization that illustrates the steps of the Nutrition Care Process (NCP) as well as internal and external factors that impact application of the NCP. The central component of the model is the relationship of the target patient/client, client or group and the RDN. One of two outer rings represents the skills and abilities of the RDN along with application of evidence-based practice, application of the Code of Ethics, and knowledge of the RDN. The second of two outer rings represents environmental factors such as healthcare systems, socioeconomics, and practice setting that impact the ability of the target group or client to benefit from RDN services. Screening and referral and outcomes management are also components of the model (and are discussed later in this series of questions). 

What is the Nutrition Care Process?

The NCP is a systematic approach to providing high quality nutrition care and is visually summarized by the Nutrition Care Model. Use of the NCP does not mean that all patients/clients get the same care. Use of the nutrition care process provides a framework for the RDN to individualize care, taking into account the patient/client's needs and values and using the best evidence available to make decisions. Other disciplines in healthcare, including nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists have adopted care processes specific to their discipline. In 2003, the House of Delegates of the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics) adopted the NCP in an effort to provide dietetics professionals with a framework for critical thinking and decision-making. Use of the NCP can lead to more efficient and effective care and greater recognition of the role of dietetic professionals in all care settings.

Get answers to more FAQs about the Nutrition Care Process
Use of the Nutrition Care Process Terminology

Resources for International Dietitians

Visit the Academy International Nutrition Care Process (AINCP) website for more information regarding international NCPT implementation.

Additional Resources

Nutrition Care Process and Model Part 1: The 2008 Update
Nutrition Care Process Part II: Using the International Dietetics and Nutrition Terminology to Document the Nutrition Care Process