When I was at school I was interested in food and science, but it was only when I was looking to do my work experience that I found out they went together in dietetics.
I went on to do a BSc in nutrition and dietetics at Cardiff University, and then signed up to the Health and Care Professionals Council (as all registered dietitians must do) before starting work. That was 10 years ago. I’ve worked in North Wales, Bristol, Newcastle – all over the place. I came to Derby just under a year ago because of the great opportunities available here.
I work in specialist nutrition support, helping patients with artificial feeding. We have a lot of people in the hospital being fed by lots of different methods if they can’t manage oral feeding. This includes feeding by tubes into the stomach which is called enteral feeding and this can be via a thin tube through the nose or by more long term devices directly into the stomach. For very specialist needs we can feed via parenteral nutrition, where people are fed through the vein. It’s used when patients have had major bowel surgery, for example, and their digestive system cannot work as normal to digest food.
My team and I work with a huge range of patients, both in the hospital and in the community. We work with patients in Intensive Care, on the Step Down Unit, stroke wards, gastroenterology wards and lots of other parts of the hospital. We also help look after people with long term feeding tubes in the Southern Derbyshire area. Most of the time, we need to feed people up to make sure their bodies are nourished and fuelled to help them get better. The amount of nutrition someone needs increases when they are unwell. Also most people have a poor appetite when they’re unwell, and we get a lot of patients who are malnourished, especially elderly people who may have been struggling at home. Being in hospital usually makes appetites worse so it’s important that we make sure people are getting the right nutrition to help them get well.
The thing I love most about nutrition is that it underpins everything. The body can’t get better unless it’s fed properly, so I feel like I make a big difference to someone’s recovery and long term health. It’s an exciting area to work in as things are always changing. There’s always new research to think about and something new to learn. You’re encouraged to do a lot of continuous professional development in this role, and to take an interest in different specialisms. I have also taken a post graduate qualification in sports and exercise nutrition and work as freelance sports nutritionist with athletes and teams. It’s a really interesting and varied career.
Recruiting Now! Specialist Renal Dietician
Do you currently work as a Specialist Renal Dietitian, or are you interested in developing your skills further within this area? If so we want to hear from you!
Click here to apply – advert closes 1 May 2017