Stacey is an APD who graduated from the University of Queensland in Brisbane in 2015. She completed a Bachelor of Health Science (nutrition major) and then went on to complete a Master of Dietetic Studies. Although only new to dietetics Stacey has gained considerable experience in a short time. Currently working across four private practices in Brisbane (two medical centres and two psychology practices) she sees a variety of patients and conditions each day. She is passionate about helping her clients achieve their individual goals and is an advocator for the ‘wholefoods’ and ‘no-diet’ approach to nutrition education.

Describe a typical day for you

I usually start my day at 8am with a coffee when I check my emails and patient list for the day ahead. As I am working across different practices no two days are the same. I consult to a variety of patients for medical nutrition therapy as well as general healthy eating advice for various life stages. At the moment I am trying to build my client base at a few of my practices so I will usually see patients in the morning and then visit local GPs for a lunchtime meeting to advise them of the services I can provide to their patients. After this I will usually see a few more patients in the afternoon before finishing up client notes and any admin tasks which need to be completed before heading home. Such tasks can include writing GP letters to doctors who have referred patients under the Chronic Disease Management Plan, responding to internal referrals made by GPs or psychologists within the practices, booking patients in for future sessions or contacting patients who have been lost to follow up. I also aim to complete one professional development task once per week. As I am currently apart of the DAA mentor program I meet with my mentor in person once per month and have a further phone meeting once per fortnight. These meetings can include reflecting on any difficult cases, which I have dealt with over the preceding few weeks, discussing tips on how to gain further referrals from GPs or completing further education to enhance evidence based practice. Once I have finished my day I usually head home where my partner and I will cook dinner together (sometimes over a glass of wine).

What do you enjoy most about your job

I love the variety of my job. Through working across four practices I see a lot of variety in clients and conditions, which makes each day interesting and challenging. I also enjoy working alongside a variety of doctors and allied health professionals, each of whom have their own special interest areas and areas they specialise in and are passionate about. I also really enjoy the flexibility of working in private practice. To an extent, I manage my own diary and have the ability to make my own hours. This is really useful when I can schedule patients around various meetings and personal commitments.

Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics so far

My career in dietetics has definitely been short and sweet so far! I graduated less than one year ago and since then it has been a massive learning curve. I am working in environments I wouldn’t have foreseen myself working in one year ago and I have had to do a lot of work outside of clinical hours to ensure my skills and knowledge are where they need to be. Seeing patients in a private practice setting is very different to the experience I gained through university (where we mainly worked in the hospital setting) but an experience I am greatly enjoying. I am currently seeing as many patients with as many different conditions as possible so I can decide which areas of dietetics particularly appeal to me. I aim to pick an area to specialise in within the next few years. At present I would like to specialise in paediatrics or elderly nutrition but I have recently seen a number of renal patients which I really enjoyed working with so my interest areas are constantly changing.

Why did you choose dietetics as a career

I chose dietetics as a career as I love eating and talking about food. Dietetics gives me a way to help people better their health and achieve their goals every day and I think that’s pretty special.

What would be your number one tip for someone starting their career in dietetics

In the beginning of your career take any opportunity to gain experience. Be open to working in a variety of settings, even if they are ones you hadn’t previously visualised yourself working in. See as many different cases as possible to help you determine what area of dietetics you are passionate about and areas where you could potentially specialise in.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I love travel. I have travelled throughout Europe and the UK and have spent a little time living in both England and Italy. I love experiencing various cultures, in particular their relationship to food. My time in Italy gave me many experiences regarding food and I found it particularly enlightening how Italians view and respect food. I try to bring these experiences to my daily dietetic practice in Australia.