Alys Lympaney qualified as an APD 15 years ago. Since this time Alys has had the opportunity to work in both Australia and in the United Kingdom. Despite moving to the UK to work as a dietitian less than 6 months after graduating, Alys reflects that this was an invaluable and rewarding experience. Alys is a senior dietitian who has worked in NHS teaching hospitals in North Hamptonshire, Manchester and London for 14 years! Living overseas allowed Alys to make friends from all over the world but also gave her the opportunity to connect with many other dietitians & clinicians, including some of the names you see in ESPEN and BAPEN clinical papers, as well as develop clinical expertise in Nutrition Support, Gastroenterology, ICU & management.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day
I have recently returned home from London and am currently working in a generalist locum clinical position in a hospital in Brisbane & raising my two children! Prior to this, I worked as a senior clinical and team lead dietitian at University College London Hospital. This position involved managing 10 clinical dietitians as well as a demanding clinical caseload in Gastroenterology and Intensive Care.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the daily interactions with patients, colleagues and students. I get a kick out of seeing a student’s “light-bulb” moment – that moment when whatever I have been saying during their placement suddenly clicks for them!
Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics thus far and/or why did you choose dietetics as a career?
My career in dietetics has always been clinically focused. I feel fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work in two large ICU’s in the UK (over 30 beds each) and Multidisciplinary Nutrition Support Teams. I am most interested in Intestinal failure as I enjoy being able to solve complex nutrition issues for patients which can impact their ability to live freely in the community. This gives me a sense of achievement and reminds me why I chose to be a dietitian. I originally decided to study dietetics due to my love for biochemistry, physiology and food! I still enjoy learning and understanding the physiology of nutrition and our bodies, especially the digestive system.
What would be your number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics?
Be open to trying out a variety of different areas of dietetics before deciding what to specialise in. I thought I would be a sports or paediatric dietitian when I qualified…I never even considered nutrition support or gastroenterology!
Also, if you have ever considered working in the UK I would highly recommend it. There are many more job opportunities available, especially if you are willing to work outside of London. Australian dietitians have a good reputation for being a great asset as we are diligent, hard-working and will go the extra mile for our patients!
What is one interesting fact about you?
I met Princess Anne while working at UCLH in London – she is a great advocate for Allied Health professionals!