Sally Bodorrek is an APD who has run her own practice for the past twelve years in the lower Blue Mountains in NSW. Sally’s practice provides services for a wide variety of clients from the local area Penrith to Lithgow (almost 100km). Sally also provides consultancy to local Aged Care Facilities and Disabilities Services as well as speaking at a number of community meetings on nutrition topics. Sally is a member of the Allied health stakeholder group at the Nepean and Blue Mountains Public Health Network (PHN).

Describe a typical day for you

My days are so different it is difficult to list out a typical day. Mondays and Friday are my days of exercise, family time (I have teenage girls) and some paperwork (essential when running your own business). Tuesday’s are busy clinic days at my office seeing clients from early morning. Wednesdays are possibly another clinic day, home visits, or a writing day (presentations, in-services, documents and reports) and Thursdays are Aged Care Facility days. These days are spent at facilities overviewing menus, assessing and reviewing residents and in-services with nursing and catering staff. I thrive on variety so this array of work suits me perfectly.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy all aspects of my work and the variety private practice offers. I particularly like client “ahha moments” where a client suddenly ‘gets it’ and realises how a better diet will help. I like reassuring clients that the media has often got it wrong and fad diets and weight loss are not the key to happiness. I like to see aged residents eating better through a nutrition intervention. I certainly don’t like GP reports and paperwork!

Why did you choose dietetics as a career?

I wanted to be a dietitian from about the age of 16 as I loved learning how nutrients functioned in the body and I loved cooking and all things food. I finished studying my Masters at Wollongong University in the early 1990’s. I spent a year with an endocrinologist conducting a research project and also worked part-time in community dietetics. I then worked in the UK for a few years at various hospitals. I studied marketing at UNSW and started working with a PR company representing many food industry clients. This was by far my biggest learning curve and I enjoyed the rush of working with business and the media, to ensure accurate nutrition messages were promoted. I also worked with a team of fabulous dietitians there. After this I again worked in the UK and then had a semi-retirement to raise small children. I was encouraged to start a private practice in my local area as there were no dietitians and GPs were looking to refer clients to a dietetic service. That was about 12-13 years ago.

What would your number one tip be to someone starting their career in dietetics?

I can’t keep it to just one! My tips are:

1. Mentoring is important and a great opportunity to continue learning and developing your career.

2. Take the road less travelled and be adventurous – travel, volunteer, work with NFP.

3. Starting out in private practice is not usually the best choice for new grads as there is too much to learn all at once – business practice, marketing techniques, counselling skills as well as how to be the best dietitian.

Also it takes over a year to typically make enough money to live on, who wants that after being a poor student.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I travelled around Europe on the back of a motorbike for 6 months between locum jobs in the UK with my now husband (who was random boyfriend back then!).