Alex Hoare is the face behind The Dietitian’s Pantry. We profiled her, asking her about her studies, her career journey and her blog.
Why did you choose dietetics as a career?
When I finished high school I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to do something in the ‘health’ field so I enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Science which allowed me to study a wide range of health subjects. By the end of the second year, I was loving all of the nutrition subjects I was doing and learning about how food can have such a big impact on health & disease. My absolute favourite subject was ‘diet & disease’. By the time I had finished my degree I knew I wanted to be a dietitian. I looked into doing the Master of Dietetics but I had not completed some of the pre-requisite subjects such as chemistry and biochemistry. I decided to go back to University to complete these subjects knowing that once I had completed them I still might not get into the Masters degree because it is so competitive and spots are limited, however, I spent two more years doing the pre-requisite subjects, applied for the Masters and got in, YAY! So while I took the long road to become a dietitian, it was totally worth it!
Could you tell us a little about your career path/journey? And current position?
I was lucky to get a full time job as a dietitian within a few weeks of graduating. I got a position as the sole dietitian at a busy bariatric clinic. It wasn’t my ideal job at the time but knowing how hard it is to get work as a graduate I was willing to give it a go. I stayed in that position for 18 months and learnt so much not only in the area of bariatrics (which is quite a specialised filed) and about my own practise as a dietitian, but also about others’ relationship and struggles with food – which isn’t covered much at University. I worked very closely with the nurses and surgeons at the clinic which played a huge role in my learning and development. I then went on to work as a health promotion officer at a community health centre, where I primarily worked with workplaces in the community, helping them to create a healthy workplace environment. I developed a lot of new skills in this role but I missed helping people with their food and nutrition choices in one-on-one consultations. So I moved on and took a role at Bupa which is where I am working now. I work in the Health & Nutrition Support team which provides me with a great range of variety. Our team is responsible for delivering the COACH Program – a telephone based cardiovascular rehab program for Bupa members; providing nutrition consultations, seminars, cooking demonstrations, menu/canteen reviews and developing nutrition resources to our corporate clients. We also provide nutrition support to Bupa employees through nutrition consultations, writing articles, creating nutrition resources and providing nutrition support to other areas and teams within Bupa. I love this role as it provides so much variety, which allows me to develop and use so many skills. And I work within a great team with some great dietitians!
What would be your number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics?
Don’t give up! It can be hard in the beginning especially when it comes to getting a job. Be willing to take jobs that wouldn’t be your number one choice, but don’t give up on your passion. If you have a particular area of dietetics that you are passionate about, do as much as you can to develop your skills in that area through professional development, volunteering, networking and talking to other dietitians working in that area. When a job does pop up, you’ll be in the best possible position to get it.
Where/how do you get ideas for your blog content on The Dietitian’s Pantry
A lot of my ideas come from reading other articles and online content as well as through nutrition consultations as well as my family and friends! For example, I might have a few people in the same day say “I’m trying to eat healthier so I gave up bread;” which will then inspire me to write an article about bread. Or, my friends might say to me “Alex I’m thinking of doing a juice cleanse, what do you think?” In addition, seeing new trends pop up such as gut health, veganism or the latest fad diet in social media often inspires me to write blog posts.
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