Professional Standards at the NNA
As a professional association for Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy students and practitioners, the NNA strives to maintain the highest possible professional standards, both during training and in practice. Working closely with leading colleges and professional therapists, the NNA has developed Core Elements for Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy and Nutrition Advice to set minimum training standards. These Core Elements form the basis of the course curriculum taught by the Naturopathic Nutrition colleges shown on our Training Providers page If you would like to see either of these documents please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
When you’re thinking about embarking on a training course, the General Naturopathic Council has this advice: “Be wary of courses where there are no direct contact hours. Webinars and e-learning aren’t the same as direct contact. Both the GNC and the NNA strongly recommend that you carefully consider the content of a course before starting. Make sure it is fully accreditied and includes direct contact and clinical practice so that you graduate with the practical skills necessary to become a competent therapist. Some insureance companies may not fully cover individuals where the course is purely distance learning. Major insurance companies won’t provide cover for such courses.” Balens insurance tell us “We always advise clients that we do not cover courses that are purely distance learning and if their course included any practical hours or if they went on to take a practical course, we ask for details and how they were deemed competent to practice.” Well-Being Insurance say: “From an insurance perspective underwriters regard all complementary therapies as a practical skill. In view of this it is a requirement that insurance applicants can demonstrate that their training undertaken includes mandatory practical elements (supervised clinical practice) to the course involving face to face interaction with a course tutor.”
Full members of the NNA agree to practice in accordance with the National Occupational Standards and must comply with the NNA’s Codes of Professional Practice and Ethics. Please click here to follow a link to the National Occupational Standards. The relevant NOS are numbered CNH 1, 2, 8 and 9.
If you are new to Naturopathic Nutrition you may be confused by the different ‘titles’ used by practitioners. Whereas the title ‘Nutritionist’ is generally used, there are different professions working under the broad banner of ‘nutrition’; their roles may vary significantly.
– provide advice to individuals about therapeutic diets and lifestyle both for optimal health and in relation to health disorders; their advice may include the use of relevant supplements. Some therapists may have other therapeutic qualifications, such as Naturopath or Herbalist. Unfortunately, standards of training vary significantly. In order to achieve the highest standards, a number of training providers (colleges and universities) have for some years been including clinical practice training in their course curriculum. The colleges and universities listed on our Training Providers page all include clinical practice for students
– are able to offer general advice on diets and lifestyle (but not most supplements) to help maintain optimal health. They are not trained to provide therapeutic advice for specific health disorders. The training of Nutrition Advisors varies significantly; some may have undertaken short courses, often by distance learning alone, whereas others will have studied for a minimum of 400 hours and will have been assessed by a tutor in a classroom situation. Please refer to our Training Providers page for information. Natural Healthcare College provides a Nutritional Advisor course fully accredited by the NNA.
– are trained in clinical practice, qualifying them to give advice to individual clients. Dieticians will usually work in the National Health Service. Their professional registering body is the British Dietetic Association. They are unlikely to look into the root cause of disease and are trained to treat symptoms instead.
- have undertaken a degree in nutritional science and some practical experience. They provide information and guidance about the impacts of food and nutrition on the health and well-being of humans. They tend to work in public health or for food manufacturers and advise on health and nutrition, and formulate information for the public or employers. Those registered with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN - regulated by the Association for Nutrition) can refer to themselves as a ‘Registered Nutritionist’ or a ‘Registered Public Health Nutritionist’. Though nutritionists are not permitted to issue or alter medical prescriptions, they may recommend certain supplements. Those who are UKVRN registered will only suggest supplements that the NHS has approved. Registered Nutritionists may work independently with individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, providing the advice and support they are providing is not in respect to their medical condition and does not contraindicate with the management of their medical condition. Usually this will require the Registered Nutritionist to work in collaboration with the healthcare professional managing the medical condition and/or alongside the Dietitian leading the dietary aspects of a treatment/management plan.
What does Clinical Practice training involve?
After completing studies in the theory of Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy and Nutritional Therapy the course providers listed on our Training Providers page include a compulsory element of clinical practice training. In a real ‘clinic’ situation, the student will have the opportunity to observe consultations with volunteer clients, gaining valuable practical experience. Students will progress to taking on the role of the actual therapist in these clinics, being supervised by a qualified practitioner. The role of the practitioner/assessor is to verify:
- the student is able to work competently and confidently in order to provide effective therapeutic advice to volunteer clients
- the student is capable of working to the requirements of the National Occupational Standards.