What is your current job title/s?
On weekdays, I am the Principal Renal Dietitian of the Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Services, based at Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) in Adelaide (2002 – Present).
During the evenings and weekends, I am an Accredited Sports Dietitian, consulting at Wakefield Sports Clinic (Jan 2008 – present).
I am also consultant Sports Dietitian to Adelaide United Football Club, Adelaide Crows Football Club, AFL and SANFL Umpires.
Could you tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics thus far and/or why did you choose dietetics as a career?
Well, I always liked to eat and I wanted to do something involved with sports and physiology. In year 11, I did a placement with a dietitian which cemented dietetics in my mind, but…I was still unsure exactly what I wanted to do, so I chose a degree with open opportunities: Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry & Physiology at Monash University (1993-1995), followed by a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics at Deakin University (1996 – 1997). I also undertook Sport Dietitians Accreditation at the AIS, Canberra in 1999.
After graduating, I was invited to work in Adelaide as a Clinical Dietitian at Flinders Medical Centre. Over the next 4 years (1998-2002), I worked at most of the major Adelaide Hospitals including Lyell Mcwein Hospital, Repatriation General Hospital, and back to Flinders Medical Centre. During this 4 years, I was involved with a variety of work areas, medical units and age groups (e.g. ICU/surgery/paediatrics etc.). Only now, on reflection, do I understand how valuable the initial 4 years of my career really was – which is why I encourage all new graduates to obtain as much variety in their work as possible e.g. opting for work in a country hospital.
In 2002, I covered a maternity leave for the Senior Renal Dietitian at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) in Adelaide and ended up staying in this role until 2009! In 2010, the QEH and RAH renal units merged, making the RAH the major Renal unit in SA, so I continue to work in the same position, however, am now based at RAH.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
I provide specialised renal nutrition services to people with CKD including dialysis and transplantation and am Convenor of a Renal Nutrition Program (an advanced practice program for dietitians working with people with kidney disease).
On weekdays, I arrive at work at 7 – 7.30am to do sports nutrition work for Adelaide United or the Adelaide Crows AFL team. I then arrive at RAH by 8.30-9am and work until 5.30pm. The day involves a mix of renal outpatient clinics, visiting renal patients on the wards, meetings and dialysis presentations.
A few nights of the week are spent doing athlete home visits or skin folds for a sports team and I often find myself doing paper work for my private work and replying to emails after dinner.
On Saturdays, I consult at Wakefield Sports Clinic, spending 5 hours with about 5-7 clients.
I am also the SA Chairperson for the DAA Renal Interest group, which meets bi-monthly. As an Interest Group, we really work well together and have been very productive as a group to review resources and include country dietitians as well.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like working in renal dietetics because we work with a chronic patient group that we get to know over a long period of time. It can be a very frustrating area but also very rewarding because, unlike many other areas of nutrition where outcomes of dietary changes may not be observed for many months or years, we can give someone advice and if they change their diet accordingly, the changes/outcomes are evident within days.
With renal dietetics, you must have a good understanding of the medical side of renal disease, we have to really think and keep adjusting our recommendations along the patient’s journey, so I guess this keeps me on my toes. Renal dietetics also provides a good mix of inpatient and outpatients.
Since both renal and sports dietetics are such dynamic areas, it can be challenging to keep up with the new research in both specialties – I mostly achieve this through attending conferences.
My two specialties also present quite different challenges i.e. as a sports dietitian, I am dealing with highly fit, healthy and motivated clients versus clinical work, where I am engaging with mostly unwell, unfit and sometimes unmotivated patients.
What would be your top tips to someone starting their career in dietetics?
1.)Be open minded to a variety of work/volunteering opportunities and be prepared to move for a job because no matter what the job is, you will gain experience, learn and develop skills and meet new people. You never where it will take you, so take risks!
2.)Be involved in as many things as you can – the more people you meet, the more that meet (and might remember) you.
Two interesting facts about Anthony (from the interviewer – Lauren Nevin))
Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Anthony is a competitive triathlete, finishing in the top 10-15 in local SA races.
It was when I was doing one of my stints at Lyell McEwin Hospital that I met a beautiful young physio who I’ve now been happily married to for 12 years who now thinks I do more than enough training and work for both of us!