Lina Breik is a Clinical Dietitian in Melbourne
Why did you choose dietetics as a career?
My mother was a dentist and she used to make my siblings and I place our milk teeth into a cup of Coke or Pepsi, once they had fallen out of course. She would then make us watch how our teeth completely eroded away in the acidity of the soft drink within 2 days! This little home experiment fascinated me and I would repeat it with each tooth that fell out (and would even trade my sibling’s teeth for 50 cents just to watch their teeth crumble). To date I don’t drink Coke or Pepsi, but more relevantly, this experiment got me very interested in the chemistry of food and how every bite we take affects our anatomy and physiology.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
As a clinical dietitian in a public health service, a typical day for me would look like this: get to work at 8 am, print off ward lists, track the whereabouts of all the patients I see on the wards, review those that need reviewing on that day and attend to new referrals which always pop up randomly! I love the team environment and the fast pace nature of clinical dietetics. Case conferences also form a big part of my workload, and although sitting through them can be draining at times, the amount of extra detail that I learn about my patients from hearing another disciplines views, never ceases to fascinate me. There is no letter ‘i’ in the word ‘team’ …
Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics thus far and where you want to head?
Thankfully, I am exactly where I want to be at this stage of my career in dietetics – working in a large, supportive and admirable team of dietitians. Being fairly new to the workforce (only 2 years out of university!), I am really enjoying the wide variety of cases I am being exposed to at work in order to consolidate my generalist skills before becoming a specialist.
In terms of what the future holds for me, well, I hope it will be somewhere in the academia-research-gastroenterology world. However, the beauty of dietetics is that there is still a vast array of specialities that I would like to dabble in before I limit myself to one area. My perspective at the moment is; go with the flow, enjoy the ride and whatever is meant to be, will be.
What would be your top 3 tips to someone starting their career in dietetics?
1.A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves as simply something to aim at. Bruce Lee
Think of a dietitian you admire and one that makes you jump for joy that you are in dietetics. Find out how she got there. Take your annual APD goals very seriously and always aim for the your highest.
2.Allow yourself to be inspired. Allow yourself to succeed. Dare to excel. Vince Dente.
Being inspired can be very daunting. Most of the times, an action after an inspiration requires you to come out of your comfort zone and push your limits – go for it. Attend as many PDs and networking events as you possibly can. They are worth every cent and more.
3.Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. Oprah Winfrey.
If you find a lecturer or a supervisor from dietetics or any other field that really “gets you” and understands your strengths and weaknesses to the T, keep them as your companions.
What is one interesting fact about you?
I really love rap music and had created a rap about nutrition and dietetics in my first year of University with a good friend. We had fleshed out the lyrics on some biochemistry lecture notes, yet to date we can’t locate them (yes, we are still looking 5 years later!). I still remember the first verse though, so if you ever bump into me, perhaps I can rap for you…?