Background

After receiving my official certificate only weeks ago, I am proud to say that I am a Provisional Accredited Practicing Dietitian, working as the New Graduate Clinical Dietitian at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, SA.

I am enthusiastic about nutrition, people and learning new things and enjoy yoga, dancing, bushwalking, traveling and learning about new cultures/cuisines. 

Similar to other dietitians, you will often find me reading nutrition-related news, blogs, books and journal articles; cooking and modifying recipes, perusing the supermarket aisles for products which may be useful to recommend to clients or enjoying food with friends. 

 

Why did you choose dietetics as a career?

I have always been a very social person, in fact, some might say I talk too much! 

As a child, I loved making a mess in the kitchen (which I called cooking/baking), and I loved eating!!!

Throughout school I enjoyed learning about the human body and biology/chemistry subjects but I also loved English and travelling, and was set on becoming a travelling journalist on TV (one of the million!)

In year 12, my ‘careers counsellor’ calculated that: “people skills + food + science” = Dietitian!

Having grown up in Tasmania, there were no Nutrition and Dietetic university courses available. The thought of moving ‘overseas’ (inter-state) made the prospect of dietetics even more appealing to my 18 year old self!

I applied all over Australia, and was lucky to gain a position in the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (BND) at Flinders University in Adelaide. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 4 years in Adelaide and the Flinders University BND, particularly my final year placement experiences.

 

Tell me about your career in dietetics thus far?

Having only completed my final University assignment in December 2013 and started work in January 2014, my career in dietetics is only 10 weeks long! However, this 10 weeks has been an intense period of learning new skills, knowledge and systems and thanks to the supportive staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, I have enjoyed every day – even being ‘on-call’. 

Through joining the DAA SA branch executive as part of the Professional Development team, I look forward to being involved in the profession and meeting other dietitians working in the state. 

I am also pleased to be attending my first DAA conference this year, at which I am presenting a literature review abstract, undertaken as part of my 24 week Honours project in the final semester of 2013. 

 

Describe a typical day for you? What do you most enjoy about your job?

My typical day includes responding to inpatient referrals from medical units such as General Medicine, Stroke, Neurology, Vascular, Cardiac and Diabetes-Endocrine, which typically involves nutritional assessment, provision of enteral feeding, oral nutrition support, diabetes management, dietary modification/education for kidney and liver disease. I also run a general medical outpatient clinic once per week, attend multi-disciplinary team meetings and present to a cardiac rehab group. 

The patient population base at TQEH is very multicultural thus holding consults with Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and Croatian interpreters is common. 

I am really enjoying work as a clinical dietitian because of the daily interaction I have with patients and their families, nursing staff, speech pathologists, diabetes nurse educators, doctors, pharmacists etc.

I love learning on the job from more experienced dietitians, other health professionals and the patients and enjoy feeling a part of the various medical unit teams. Also, in a busy hospital setting, each day is varied and challenging and you are never sitting still for long! 

 

What is one interesting fact about you?

Amongst my many goals, one day I hope to be able to speak Spanish, to live in another country for at least a year, to learn ballroom dancing and to undertake a diabetes nurse educator course, a counselling course, as well as sports, gastro and paediatric dietetic courses (If only time will allow!).