Posted by: ayrshirehealth | June 10, 2015

Trust a Dietitian by Kerri Major

A Day in the Life of Dietitians

As the second year of celebrating National Dieticians Week is here (8th-12th June 2015) and will no doubt be over and done with as quick as the time it takes to boil the kettle, Dietitians WeekI considered it a great opportunity to write my first ever blog about ‘A Day in the Life of Dietitians’, (a day that I think the majority of my colleagues would agree, usually goes over too quickly in this very busy profession!).

Trust a Dietitian

The world’s first National Dietitians Week was established in June 2014 as part of the Trust a Dietitian (TAD) campaign launched by the British Dietetic Association, (BDA). The TAD campaign is the BDAs latest campaign, aiming to highlight the essential work of a Dietitian, as well as illustrate the worth and importance of the professional as an entirety, within the UK. Trust a Dietitian

The first Dietitians Week was a great success, raising national and even global awareness of the profession by individuals getting involved in political events and activities throughout the UK.

Dietitians Week in 2015 is set to be even bigger and better, with a week full of activities and events across the country, with the aim of promoting the profession even further and highlighting the impact dietetic practice has on the health of the nation.

The week aims to demonstrate and promote the great variety of roles within the profession, highlight the significant impact Dietitians have on public health and help drive the demand for dietetic services. Sitting at the heart of the campaign is the promotion of Dietitians as the “absolute gold standard” when it comes to food and nutrition expertise.

Did you know that Dietitians are the only quIm an expertalified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level?  Many people claim to be experts in nutrition yet have very limited knowledge and offer no protection to the public, but we Dietitians are statutorily regulated, with a protected title and are governed by an ethical code, to ensure that we always work to the highest standard.

What does a dietitian do?

So, what exactly does a Dietitian do, you ask? Well where do I start? Dietitians have a large variety of roles within the profession but the crux of every Dietitians job, no matter where they are located or what their specialisation is, is to help every individual achieve optimal health by consideration of the food and fluid that they put into their body. Food FactsEvery individual needs food and fluid to function on a daily basis – it is essential.

So we believe that every time you eat or drink something, it is a chance for you to nourish your body, providing it with the nutrients it needs. We do this by interpreting the science of nutrition in order to improve health and treat diseases and conditions by educating and giving practical advice to clients, patients, carers and colleagues.

We advise and support individuals to allow them to follow diets which can help treat and manage their diagnosis e.g. coeliac disease and allergies. We can therefore work with both healthy and sick people, specialising in different areas and working in a variety of settings. We can work within the NHS or a private workplace in the acute or community setting, as well as in the food industry, catering, education, sport and the media.

Care pathways – train and educate

Other care pathways also include mental health, learning disabilities and public health. We often work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams to treat complex clinical conditions such as:

  • diabetes, food allergy and intolerance
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • eating disorders
  • chronic fatigue
  • malnutrition
  • weight management
  • kidney failure
  • and bowel disorders to name but a few.

University Hospital CrosshouseWe provide advice to caterers to ensure the nutritional care of all clients within the NHS and other care settings, such as nursing homes.

We also plan and implement public health programmes to promote health and prevent nutrition related diseases. Another key role of a Dietitian is to train and educate other health and social care workers. We advise on diet to avoid the side effects and interactions between medications and improve biochemical markers.

We are about so much more

So how do we do this, I hear you ask? We use recognised methodologies to critically appraise the evidence base, which includes all forms of evidence and research, allowing us to provide accurate and scientifically proven advice and ultimately choose the most appropriate plan of action, always with the client/client group at the centre of this decision.

Dietitians - BDO 2014screen-capture-8We use scientific calculations on a daily basis, counselling skills and motivational interviewing to help ensure clients achieve their goals. From my experience to date, I believe many people are under the impression that we Dietitians just hand out drinks to those who need to put on a few pounds or tell people who need to lose some weight to get more active and cut back on the amount they eat.

We are about so much more than that.

Hopefully this summarises the main roles of a Dietitian and the need for our expertise within society. We believe that balanced nutrition – and regular physical activity and exercise of course! – is the key to a healthy and happy life, and incorporating both into your lifestyle should be considered a form of self-respect.

If everyone made a conscious effort to do a little bit more of what is proven to be good for them, we believe that to a certain extent, the human body would no longer need to be treated with medication but disease could essentially be cured and prevented with the right nutrition.

Happy dietitians week

To all my fellow Dietitians out there, I’m wishing you another happy Dietitians Week and I hope that if you have had the chance to read this, it has helped to further ignite your passion in the ever evolving world of dietetics and nutrition. I hope you have all had the time to get involved in some way or another this week, promoting our wonderful profession! Here is to another great Dietitians Week!

This week’s blog was by Kerri Major, Registered Dietitian, University Hospital Crosshouse, NHS Ayrshire & Arran

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Responses

  1. Enjoyed reading your blog and has given me a better understanding of the role of a dietitian.

  2. very well written Kerri, well done!! Lynn


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