I have worked across many areas in dietetics and loved them all! Each different role increasing my skills and knowledge not only in dietetics but different skills that compliment and make you effective in your field of endeavour.
From a new graduate managing the nutritional needs of renal wards (with over 200 people on dialysis as well as Australia’s first Liver Transplant Unit!) to teaching and academia, health promotion and public health, foodservice management and research.
I believe that experiencing a variety of roles and jobs helps one to understand issues and problems from different perspectives. It contributes to more robust and informed resolutions. Being active with Dietitians Association of Australia at State, National and now International levels has continued that exposure to new ideas and amazing people.
The latest professional endeavours include informatics. In the not too distant future, electronic health records will be the norm. We are positioning ourselves so we can well demonstrate the effectiveness of Dietitians in care provision and the outcomes attained. It is an endeavour creating true international collaboration to overcome commonly experienced health problems and challenges.
Health informatics may be a new term to many people, but it is really about employing technology to ensure good use of information at the beginning, middle and end of a person’s health journey. We collect and use information every day so there will be many many opportunities upon which we can capitalize.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
As Research and Development Dietitian at the Princess Alexandra Hospital since 2000, no two years have been the same. Work continues to seek and develop the evidence for improved practice and care.
With teams of valued colleagues, I have initiated validation of dehydration screening, student satisfaction, outpatient satisfaction and other tools to act as the basis for our profession to assess and evaluate its outcomes and care.
New models of service delivery were shaped through Piloting Certificate training for Dietetic Assistants, evidence based practice (malnutrition and bariatric), new dietetic clinical placement models and broad implementation of the International Nutrition and Dietetic Terminology (IDNT).
Why dietetics why did you choose dietetics as a career?
Dietetics is a great way to combine an aptitude in science with a love of food and people … all of which makes life endlessly interesting. It’s an area that is always changing and evolving.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
The People – They are endlessly fascinating and inspirational. I work with very motivated, genuine and talented people who make my work a pleasure. I’m also inspired by the amazing attitudes of individuals and families while going through some of the most difficult times in their lives.
The Students and New Professionals – Expanding their thinking and attitudes during formative years. Almost anything is possible, but we need to have the long-term goal in sight, work smart and in strategic ways to make progress.
The Development – Indulging my natural curiosity and setting up good foundations for improvements for the future
Taking opportunities! And remembering that challenges lead to innovation.
My tips to anyone thinking about studying dietetics:
See dietitians doing real jobs in different settings. Sometimes reality is different to what people might imagine! Whatever profession you undertake, you must enjoy it because you’ll be doing it for a long time!
Dietitians have a lot of different skills and they can shine in many different roles. Don’t limit yourself. Enhance your fundamental skills with additional capabilities to become well-rounded. These could include marketer, manager, persuader, advocate, storyteller, social development, environmental sustainability, critical thinker, anticipator of trends, observer of opportunities, business acumen, media prowess and entrepreneurship (business or social), to name just a few.
Now, in the expanding world of health and infomatics, new market niches and skills to acquire can include programming, apps development, computer system and information management skills. Continue to apply all your skills and Go for it!!
What is one interesting fact about you?
A favourite food perhaps– impossible !! I love anything with many different foods and tastes such as smorgasbord, buffet, yum cha, mezze, tapas.
If I wasn’t a dietitian I would have studied Food Technology, Home Ec teaching or Town Planning. I made the right choice though, successfully combining science, teaching and futures planning … all within our profession of dietetics.