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Khai Chyi Lee

Khai Chyi Lee: Dietitian, Bentley Hospital

I graduated from Curtin University in 2012 with BSc in Nutrition and Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics. Since young, I have seen my grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles suffering from various diseases like Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension. Seeing them with medications always made me wonder if that would be the future for my siblings and our next generation, or if that was something we could do to prevent this. During the last year of high school in Malaysia, we were invited to a career fair, at which the I was introduced to the Nutrition Course.

I knew I always I loved my food and was always interested to learn more about diet. “Diet and lifestyle change for a better future” came across my mind so I decided to take the course. I knew study abroad would be a better option as the Nutrition course wasn’t popular in Malaysia, but not too far from my family, Australia was outstanding when I compared to other countries like US, UK and New Zealand. I was advised that Curtin University, Monash University and La Trobe University could be the options. Curtin University’s great location in Perth which is only 5.5 hours flight from home gave it an extra bonus. Words of mouth are also important, I chose Curtin University because I have heard good feedback from some of my family friends who had studied in this university in the past. Another important factor was my best friend who migrated to Perth with her family went to Curtin University at the same year and my parents thought it would be better for me to come to Perth as they knew my best friend’s family could look after me when I left home to another country by myself.

I am grateful that I was well supported throughout my university life. All of my lecturers and tutors were extremely approachable, kind and helpful. I remembered there was once when I nearly gave up in the degree as I thought I couldn’t make it, I went into my lecturer’s room to ask her for opinion. A phrase from her that I would remember forever was “We took you because we knew you can do it, we are confident that you are capable for this degree and why aren’t you?” It was a simple encouragement but it really touched my heart and kept me going. Thinking back, I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have those awesome people in my life.

The units in BSc Nutrition and Postgraduate in Dietetics were useful to help us to develop our attributes such as time management skills, ability to work in a multidisciplinary team, and communication skills which are essential when you work as a Dietitian.

After graduating, I applied for jobs in both Singapore and Perth. I decided to stay in Perth as I prefer the lifestyle here. I am currently working as a clinical dietitian at Bentley Hospital. I work under the geriatric rehabilitation ward, general rehabilitation ward, occasionally stroke rehabilitation and mental health. I also do outpatients under community rehabilitation. Bentley Hospital is one of the best secondary hospitals where you can spend more time with your patients as they are generally here for a period of time, which I really enjoy. My duties include, but are not limited to, provide patient care, participate in regular multidisciplinary and department meetings, conduct quality improvement activities such as nutritional supplement and meals audits, write and review protocols, organise nursing and catering in-services, contribute in professional development activities such as presenting in journal club events, represent Bentley Health Service Nutrition and Dietetics department in various meetings and committee, mentor junior staff and supervising Curtin University Food Service Dietetics students.

For current students, take advantage of university life where you can upskill yourself, not only in knowledge but in a holistic way. For those who are not originally from Perth, part of the beauty of Curtin University is that there is plenty of support available for you when you are miles away from home, for eg: awesome staff from international students office. Of course, before you choose your course, make sure you love what you are choosing. Passion eases your study life as you are enjoying what you are doing. For me, I really enjoy Nutrition and Dietetics because I feel contented when I am able to help people to improve their understanding in nutrition and improve their health. I am glad that I had chosen this course at Curtin University and I am proud to say that I am a graduate of Curtin University!