Dietitian with Womens Health & Family Services (WHFS)
I chose to study the science of Nutrition because of my interest in food and health. Furthering my studies in Dietetics gave me the knowledge and skills to educate and advise people on how powerful their diets could be to reduce their risk for, help manage or even treat diseases.
I chose to study at Curtin because their Nutrition and Dietetics degree offered was highly established and was the only course recognised by the Dietitans Association of Australia, in WA.
The opportunities and experience gained whilst on my practical placements really contributed to my graduate attribute development. The practical placements were very well coordinated. It gave me valuable exposure to realize the different fields of work that I could do as a dietitian, and the opportunity to explore my interest in maternal and child health. The work that I did on placement helped me to demonstrate my competency when applying for jobs, and was key to gaining my current position at WHFS. The teaching staff at Curtin were excellent in their support and knowledge of nutrition and dietetics, which is important as the science of nutrition is constantly updating and changing.
After relaxing a bit after graduating, and picking up occasional locum work, I was fortunate to gain employment at Women’s Health & Family Services [WHFS] in Northbridge, at which I am currently working for my 3rd consecutive year. WHFS is a community health clinic that offers a variety of services to women and their families, especially those who are low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse or marginalised in the community. My work is diverse and varies day to day, it is challenging at times but also very rewarding. I run the Nutrition Program in the Community Development Service area at WHFS, and so a core part of my work involves connecting with and going out into the community to give nutrition educational talks and workshops, but also networking with local government and other organizations involved in public health and nutrition, developing resources and program planning. When I started, the Nutrition program was newly established, solely for nutrition promotion. Over my time I have been able to expand the program to now include dietetic consultation services, establish healthy eating workplace initiatives and successfully advocated for an outdoor kitchen and garden to be built here at WHFS. Thus a typical day’s work would involve any of these aspects – depending on the day!
My advice to those undertaking nutrition and dietetics is to keep an open mind, and be flexible. What I have found is that whilst graduating with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics definitely gives you a strong foundation to be an expert in the nutrition field, it is only the first step in your future career! Being a dietitian is not just about working in hospitals. Although this is important work, many avenues will utilise your nutrition and dietetics training. Do not place too high expectations on yourself to have everything set in stone and worked out within the first year or even two years! Remember that you now have many years to develop yourself and your career, not just 3 or 4 years like studying a degree. Attend as many CPD events and seminars as you can that are relevant to your work and interests, they will help keep you up to date. Put your hand to try the different expressions and areas of work that involve nutrition. You will be surprised at what doors open up, what people you meet and what specific aspects of nutrition and/or dietetics you may develop an interest in.