Kirsten Jackson started her career working within the National Health Service in the UK. Here, she became a specialist in gastroenterology, whilst working alongside world leading gastroenterologists.
In 2015, Kirsten set up her own company The Food Treatment Clinic, a private company specialising in digestive health. The company has now grown to include a team of 5 dietitians who are all experts in gut health, as well as a student intern.
Alongside her clinical work, Kirsten is an expert advisor for the IBS Network charity. She is also an Official Media Spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, where she has been featured in publications such as Cosmopolitan UK.
In 2018, Kirsten took on the role of Lead Dietitian at Kings College Hospital in Dubai. In this position, she has contributed to the opening of King’s first hospital in the Middle East.
And, in 2019, Kirsten opened her online IBS membership program: Take Control.
Why Did You Decide to Specialise in Gastroenterology?
It was a combination of chance, personal experience and interest. My career started off in a hospital which had some of the world leading gastroenterologists. This meant that even as a junior dietitian, I was often exposed to complex and rare conditions.
I remember one of my first patients was a man who had refractory coeliac disease (something I had never heard of at the time!).
I loved the complexity and impact that clinical nutrition had in this area of medicine.
During this time, I had also been suffering with some personal medical problems and was later diagnosed with coeliac disease and IBS. Having this personal experience, really changed the way in which I provided my advice and I soon found that my patient outcomes were significantly enhanced.
Why Did You Move to Dubai?
It was a coincidental situation. My husband and I were not happy living in England. Without sounding cheesy, it was as if it was meant to be, an agency contacted me about interviewing for Kings College London Hospital in Dubai.
I came out of the interview literally buzzing about the idea of starting something so new – not just the hospital, but the concept of evidence-based care which is not readily available in the Middle East.
I won’t lie, the draw of constantly good weather and a tax-free lifestyle also helped!
How Do You Find Enough Hours in The Day?
It is difficult running a UK business and then also working full time in a different country. But, I have a lot of systems in place within my business to reduce the workload and make things flow easily.
I also outsource a lot of jobs. For example, I have a PA, intern and cleaner. Next month we will be getting a live-in maid who will do all the household chores (this is normal in Dubai).
Without sounding too boring, I time block and I am extremely organised. The biggest thing I have probably struggled with as a business owner is learning to rely on other people to do jobs.
What is it Like Being a Dietitian in Dubai?
Emotional is how I would describe it! It is amazing, yet frustrating also. Clinical nutrition is a new concept in the world of medicine and Dubai is a country which was only founded 50 years ago.
You work with staff from all over the world who have different experiences and qualification levels. For example, I have met Gastroenterologists from India that have never worked with a dietitian in their whole career.
Patients are also used to getting all their information from doctors. However, they too are receptive to new ideas when you explain the science behind your advice.
What Advice Would You Give to Other Dietitians?
Think about where you want to be 5 or 10 years from now. How does your day look? How do you feel? Where are you living? How much do you need to earn to sustain your lifestyle? Then plan backwards.
Tell Me About Your New Take Control Membership
The Take Control Membership Program is a monthly membership for people with IBS. It includes videos, worksheets, downloads and a private community, where I support members.
The program is based on my own, evidence based, proven strategy to helping individuals with IBS. The membership walks individuals through lifestyle changes, exercise, mindfulness, sleep improvements and even that ‘first line’ advice that can often be missed.
For those dietitians who do not specialise in IBS, but would like to offer a service, I am offering affiliate collaborations which provide a 25% pay back each month. If anyone is interested in this, please do get in contact.
Download my Free Guide to Avoiding and Dealing with Bloating for your patients.
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