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Dietitians Week

Dietitians Week

Dietitians Week 2017

Dietitians Week was established in 2014 to highlight the role of dietitians.

To help you further understand the role of dietitians and what they do, we have a conducted a Q&A with the dietitians here at Nestle.

Why did you want to become a dietitian?
This is the question I always dreaded being asked at an interview! Becoming a dietitian was a natural choice for me, and it’s sometimes hard to articulate exactly what drew me to the profession. In truth, it was probably a combination of past experience (I saw a dietitian at a young age when I had been unwell) and also my love of science and nutrition. At school I found that biology and chemistry stretched me far more than other subjects, and I knew I wanted to help people achieve better health. Combined with a love of food and cooking, I knew this was a career choice that would satisfy many of my interests and keep me challenged for a long time.

Dieititan: Nikki

Where did you train and when?
It was during my undergraduate degree in Physiology, Sports Science & Nutrition at Glasgow University that I found out about the role of the dietitian and realised that was the career I wanted to pursue. I looked into post graduate courses and found that Glasgow Caledonian University offered a two year Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) in dietetics- which could lead to HCPC registration as a dietitian after completion. I applied the year I graduated and secured an interview- however there are only 10 places and I was not successful. However, I was committed to ensuring I would get in the next year and I went about gaining more work experience in nutrition research and dietetics. I kept the university updated with what I was doing and I was very fortunate to be offered a place that year in the end after someone dropped out. I graduated in June 2015 and started the Nestlé Nutrition Graduate scheme that September. In January of this year, I commenced my research project which will enable me to convert my Dietetics PgD into a MSc. I have been doing this part time alongside my current job with SMA Nutrition and I am really enjoying to continue to improve my research skills and knowledge.

Dieititan: Fiona

What was your first job?
My first dietetic role was a clinical role in a hospital as an HIV/TB specialist dietitian in Johannesburg. I was responsible for a 300 bed hospital, where patients had multi or extreme drug resistant TB, many of which were co-infected with HIV.

Dieititan: Timira

What is / are your current role(s)? – what do you do?
I am a Medical Affairs Dietitian and lead a motivated and passionate team of Dietitians. As an industry Dietitian I look after the diabetes and IBD platform. Every day is not the same!!! I used to work in the field of IBD in the NHS and I feel proud that I can bring in my current knowledge, expertise and feedback from NHS Dietitians to support the business. I work with various internal and external stakeholders and discuss the same vision we have which is to support the health care professionals with better tools, resources and products. The Medical Affair Dietitians are seen as a valuable member of the department.

Dieititan: Sharan

How did you get to where you are today?
I embarked on a degree in Forensic Biology and Biology. Following completion of my degree I was recommended by the university to gain experience as a dietetic assistant before applying for the postgraduate diploma in dietetics. With 2 years of dietetic assistant experience I was able to apply to university for a postgraduate and choose my university of choice. I attended Leeds Metropolitan University where I enjoyed 2 years of classroom based learning and work based placements.

Through previous experience and guidance for the university I managed to secure my ideal role as a band 5 community position in Staffordshire. I progressed rapidly to band 6 completing my competencies and readily taking on new clinical areas, training and projects within my role.

After 2 years I requested that I started covering paediatric patients, this started with shadowing clinics, peer review and undertaking module 1 in paediatrics. Once established in my competencies I then continued to develop my knowledge areas seeing more complex home enteral fed patients and working as part of multidisciplinary teams. After another 2 years in the role I decided I needed a new challenge and I applied for the role of paediatric team leader this allowed me to drive projects, guidelines and audit, whilst keeping a happy motivated team.

It was whilst I was completing this role that I was encouraged by an ex-colleague to apply for a role in industry. My first year in industry was as a paediatric territory manager for the West midlands. After a year in the field I applied for a role as the medical affairs dietitian for allergy, as I had clinical experience of paediatric allergy in the NHS and a year as a representative in the field. I find both the clinical and field experience invaluable to help with insights and knowledge to help develop resources for our product which benefit both patients and clinicians. The fast pace of industry means that our role is all about continuous professional development; working with consumers and clinicians to gain up to date knowledge, understanding and reflecting to ensure our products and offerings are the best they can be.

Dieititan: Charlotte

What do you like and enjoy most about the role that you do now?
I enjoy the rich diversity of my role and the opportunities to progress and develop myself, whilst maintaining my dietetic skills and knowledge. I enjoy working in collaboration with a number of different functions within my business to achieve shared goals and the opportunity for career progression in many different areas and locations.

Dieititan: Ellie

What tips would you give a newly or recently qualified dietitian to help them develop their career?
I would highly recommend exposure to dietetics in a variety of settings to get a wider understanding of how the role can differ. Prior to joining industry I spoke with friends who also worked in industry to understand how this had benefitted their career and what their job role entailed. This gave me valuable insight into whether a role in industry would suit me. In previous roles in the NHS, I work shadowed colleagues in other trusts to gain experience and exposure to aspects of service development that would assist me in the role. Use dietetic events such as regional meetings to network with the wider dietetic community.

Dieititan: Caroline

How long have you worked in industry and was is your role?
Since 2009, I have held the position of Company Nutritionist. I am responsible for the development and implementation of Nestle UK’s nutrition strategy. This includes advice on nutrition labelling and nutrition communication strategies for products, customers and consumers and external liaison.

Dieititan: Liz