After graduating from QUT in 2003, I commenced working as a dietitian at The Park – Centre for Mental Health in Brisbane. It was a wonderful start to dietetics as I was able to develop my skills in food services, project management and clinical dietetics being a sole practitioner in an environment where advocacy of the patient’s physical health was greatly needed! Positions at The Prince Charles Hospital and Rockhampton Hospital allowed me to find my feet in acute clinical dietetics, and my passions for critical care, surgical, clinical education, and ultimately for assisting in the development of others from nutrition assistants, to students to less experienced staff through management and leadership positions. It was the latter that led me back to Brisbane to take up a position as Clinical Educator, and since 2011, acting in a Team Leader role at The Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) working with a dynamic leadership group and a wonderful department of dietitians.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
I absolutely love my job because it isn’t typical! PAH is extremely dynamic and presents me with diversity and daily challenges. I manage a brilliant team of dietitians who inspire me everyday being so passionate about their clinical area and demonstrating their questioning approach from patient care to professional advocacy! I am responsible for their professional support, the strategic direction of the department (along with the leadership group and researchers), and a portfolio from clinical education to an acute workload such as intensive care or surgical. I am also currently implementing protected meal time strategies across our nearly 800 bed facility. This keeps me busy!
What do you most enjoy about your role?
Working with people at all levels. I am as extroverted as they come and receive a great deal of job satisfaction from interacting and learning from others. I especially love representing our wonderful profession and advocating for dietetics, and ultimately, the patients who receive our care. Most of all, I love to have fun and joke around. Working at PAH ensures there is a lot of laughter around on a daily basis.
Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics thus far and/or why did you choose dietetics as a career?
I wanted to help people without any blood and guts! Plus, who doesn’t love food?
What would be your number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics?
Choose a good mentor! In fact, you will need many as you grow as a person, and a professional. Rebecca McMullen, Leanne Wagner and more recently Maree Ferguson have been instrumental to my career as well as my own personal growth.
What is one interesting fact about you?
I stopped counting my shoe collection at 150 pairs. I felt they became ‘items’ then rather than investments (well, so I keep telling myself)!