Dietician case study
What does a Dietician do?
Dieticians are the experts in assessing and treating nutritional problems, working not only in acute hospital settings but also in mental health trusts, the community, children’s services and GP practises. They use the latest research on food and nutrition to offer one-to-one treatment to patients suffering from a range of conditions from the treatment of obesity and eating disorders, to the optimisation of nutrition for cancer patients and those suffering with COVID-19. Dieticians also use their skills to educate and motivate patients and communities to make positive lifestyle and dietary changes.
Hear from Sam, a dietician at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Brief description of my role: Dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems. In the acute hospital setting, Band 5 dietitians are mainly responsible for seeing patients who do not fall under a dietetic speciality. This encompasses a wide range of medical conditions including cancer, dementia, COPD and surgical patients. During the pandemic, we would see a lot of the patients on the red wards, to help optimise their nutritional status whilst acutely unwell with COVID-19.
Band 5 dietitians are involved in a lot of training and education around the hospital, including for the catering teams, junior doctors and HCA’s. Pre-COVID, we were also involved in education sessions for patient groups around nutrition such as the Big C. We are also heavily involved with audits and quality improvement projects, both within the department and on different wards.
Happy healthy people providing excellent compassionate care
Where/how long I trained: To become a dietitian, I completed a 4-year Nutrition and Dietetics degree at the University of Nottingham. All Dietetics courses have to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and all are accredited with the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
Career progression so far: I started working as a Dietitian just over a year ago, and since then have spent time in Neurosciences and Paediatric rotations.
What I enjoy about my job: As Dietitians, we understand how important nutrition is in the management of different clinical conditions. My role enables me to advocate for patient’s nutrition whilst they are unwell in hospital. I enjoy working with the wider MDT, and using nutrition counselling skills to motivate patients to make changes themselves, if appropriate.
My Department also has lots of opportunities for shadowing and learning, including regular CPD presentations. This helps me to continuously develop my practice and stay up-to-date.