Dietetics Manager (APD), Dietetics Department, Joondalup Health Campus.
(BSc Nutrition and Food Science and Graduate Diploma in Dietetics)
I graduated from Curtin University in 1998 with a BSc Nutrition and Food Science and a Grad Dip Dietetics. As I had completed my degree straight out of school, I took the opportunity to have a well-earned break and flew over to Europe for 3 months. In this time, I spent a few weeks traveling around parts of the UK and a lot of time in Western Europe – by the end of my travels, I had decided that I would have to come back to live and work at some stage.
After 5 years working in Perth in the clinical setting, I decided it was now or never, and planning began for working in the UK. I was able to obtain a working-holiday visa and become a State Registered Dietitian (you must be registered with the Health Professionals Council to work in the UK) whilst I was still in Perth – the paperwork is reasonably lengthy, needing university, course details, work history and so on. Once the paperwork is completed, due to the absence of an entrance exam requirement, the next step is registering with agencies to search for jobs.
Once I arrived in the UK, after a brief holiday, I took a 2 month contract with a large hospital in Kent as a senior Nutrition Support Dietitian. It was a great opportunity to work with a dynamic Nutrition Support team (including the Intensivists, nurses and pharmacists) as well as being exposed to an acute hospital with a broad spectrum of services, while working with the friendly people of “country” England. The impression of Australian Allied Health workers is that we are hard-working and knowledgeable – I had a day of covering the entire hospital by myself and I managed to come out unscathed!
After some travels around Scandanavia, Spain and even back home to Australia, I headed back to live in London. I worked as a Senior Paediatric Dietitian and as Acting Head of Department in the same hospital for the rest of my time in London – this stint gave me an idea of what it would be like to work permanently in the UK (on a work permit or passport). The shared Allied Health environment contributed to the multi-disciplinary treatment and the department were a positive and innovative group. I have memories of entertaining patients and their families with my accent (and words like “snow peas”,”capsicum” and “vegemite”) but I was glad to see that my training had prepared me well for work in the UK. The feedback from the doctors and multidisciplinary team was that Australian dietitians are very innovative & knowledgeable and my manager thought Australian trained allied health workers drove change and worked hard making us reliable permanent staff and locum workers.
I ended my time with a few months of travel – Egypt, Greece and Croatia and then headed back home with some great experience, fabulous travel adventures and the memories of events like getting into Wimbledon, spotting famous people, and flying all over Europe – things you can only do when you work overseas!
Since this time, I have worked as the Dietetics Manager at Joondalup Health Campus and have found my varied experiences overseas and locally have allowed me to implement innovative services and support my team. Any opportunity to work and travel should be embraced as it is both challenging and rewarding.
Samantha Buck (nee Boggs)