College of Nutrition Oath

Certified Nutrition Specialists Code of Ethics

The following ethical principles and interpretive guidelines are based on the core values of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists and apply to all BCNS certificants. Guidelines included for each ethical principle are a non-exhaustive list of behaviors and situations that can help to clarify the principle. They are not meant to be a comprehensive list of all situations that can occur.

A CNS/CNS-S that is clinically practicing nutrition care agrees to adhere to the following code of ethics, principles, and interpretative guidelines:

  • Foremost, do no harm. A CNS/CNS-S consciously avoids harmful actions or omissions, embodies high ethical standards and adheres to all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations in the choices he or she makes.
  • A CNS/CNS-S places service, and the health and welfare of other persons before self-interest and conducts oneself in the practice of the profession so as to bring honor to oneself, peers and to the nutrition science profession.
  • A CNS/CNS-S respects and understands that he or she is a health care professional dedicated to providing competent and scientifically sound nutritional and other appropriate care within their own scope of practice, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.
  • A CNS/CNS-S employs his/her best good faith efforts to provide unbiased information and facilitate understanding to enable the patient/client to make informed choices in regard to all recommended plans of care or assessment. The patient/ client should make his or her own determination on such recommendations and assessment. A CNS/CNS-S shall not mislead patients into false or unjustified expectations of favorable results of treatment.
  • A CNS/CNS-S upholds the standards of professionalism and is honest in all professional interactions. A nutrition science professional will additionally be knowledgeable about established policies and procedures for handling concerns about unethical behavior. These include policies and procedures created by BCNS, licensing and regulatory bodies, employers, supervisors, agencies, and other professional organizations (see BCNS Disciplinary and Complaint Policy).
  • A CNS/CNS-S upholds the standards of professionalism and commits to performing his/her duties competently, safely, and ethically. Drug and alcohol abuse will not be tolerated by the BCNS. Any person discovered using alcohol or drugs in a professional practice will be subject to discipline, including certification revocation (see BCNS Disciplinary and Complaint Policy).
  • A CNS/CNS-S respects the rights of patients, clients, colleagues and other health professionals, and safeguards patient/client confidence, trust, and privacy in accordance with the law. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, being familiar with and carrying out all HIPAA compliance requirements.
  • A CNS/CNS-S commits to the study, application, and advancement of scientific knowledge, continues to seek nutritional and related health education, and makes relevant nutrition science information available to patients/clients, colleagues, and the public. They also obtain consultation, and recognizes the talents of other health professionals when indicated, referring patients/clients to appropriate healthcare providers when their care requires services outside the scope of practice of a CNS.
  • A CNS/CNS-S values his or her responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health.
  • A CNS/CNS-S truthfully and accurately states one’s credentials, professional education, and experiences. CNS and
  • CNS-S may be used as a post-nominal credential. The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists does not recognize “board-eligible,” and such nomenclature is to be avoided.
  • A CNS/CNS-S may not undertake any communications to third-party institutions or organizations that could be construed as representing the CNS credential, the BCNS or the ANA, unless duly authorized by the BCNS or ANA.
  • A CNS/CNS-S may not use BCNS or ANA proprietary information, names, trademarks, or other confidential information for the purposes of another venture, non-profit organization, business, or other conflict of interest.
  • A CNS-S that is not clinically practicing nutrition care agrees to adhere to the following code of ethics, principles, and interpretative guidelines:

*American Nutrition Association, 2021, code of ethics.