I work for a local Health Board in North Wales as part of a small Public Health Dietetic Team delivering ‘award winning’ Nutrition Skills for Life™ food and nutrition accredited training for community workers and members of the community.
I am very fortunate to work alongside highly skilled Public Health Dietitians.
I have worked for the past 9 years, firstly as a Dietetic Assistant and for the past 5 years as a Dietetic Assistant Practitioner, and I have acquired a great deal of on the job experience and knowledge within the Public Health Dietetic Team over the years.
Initially my remit was to work with the 0-25 age group but as time has progressed this has widened to encompass all life stages from 0-100! I relish all the opportunities I have to work with various population groups from children, families and older adults.
One of my greatest achievements has been the work I have done with older male adults and a program I developed called ‘Only Men allowed…in the kitchen! I have lead accredited food and nutrition programs to men over 50 years of age who have been bereaved or who have taken on the role as primary carer.
Many of these men had limited cooking skills and very little nutritional knowledge so working with this demographic group is very rewarding, seeing their cooking skills and nutritional understanding develop is great.
Over the past 18 months I have also been involved in developing, planning, training, implementing and evaluation the ‘Come and Cook’ program and toolkit in North Wales. We have also written, produced and had professionally printed a recipe book to go with the program which all participants take home with them which encourages continued cooking at home.
We have trained community based workers to deliver this course and to date we have seen well over 20 (6 week) programs delivered with over 100 community members trained. The feedback from the courses has been overwhelmingly positive with 93% of people reporting feeling ‘more’ or ‘much more’ confident in preparing healthy meals from scratch. I am passionate about getting people interested in cooking and nutrition!
The program teaches people about The eatwell plate, benefits of good nutrition looking at specific nutrients such as fat, sugar salt and fibre, label reading, healthy eating on a budget and menu planning. I have also been involved in writing this program as an accredited course.
My advice if you are looking for a career in nutrition is to try to get some voluntary experience in an organization or department as once you have your foot in the door it can lead to other opportunities.
Also, never be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to a question! Nutrition is a vast and ever evolving area and it is better to offer sound evidenced-based advice as apposed to anecdotal advice. It is fine to say you will get back to them with the answer!
Food and Nutrition is my passion and I am so lucky to work within this arena.
My job is never dull, and I am always doing something different from delivering accredited food and nutrition programs, to developing resources, I have developed a eating healthily on a budget leaflet that won a BMJ patient information award!
I am also involved in delivering student tutorials and actively involved in promoting the work Public Health Dietitians do within North Wales.
I am glad I have gained the title of Registered Nutritionist as it gives some quality assurance and recognition to the work we do as Nutritionists.
Dietetic Assistant Practitioner
Public Health Dietetic Team,
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, North Wales