Hi! I’m Ellie and I’m a current 4th year and final placement student at the University of Chester! I’m a proud Brummie and although I have loved living in the North West over the past 4 years, I am very keen to move back home and start my dietetics career in the city I grew up in. I also have a said and dog called Noah who is my favourite little dude!
What inspired you to study dietetics?
I have known I wanted to study dietetic since I was 14. I first decided that I wanted to follow this career path when I got into nutrition, I noticed that I could retain a lot of information about food/nutrition and that I wanted to be able to talk about food in a job I could see myself doing for years. I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure what a dietitian did until I got onto the course: I naively thought dietitians advised people who to be healthier through diet and didn’t really consider all the specialist roles or even tube feeding but now I love learning all of these areas!
How have you adjusted to placements and studying during COVID?
I’m lucky because I’d only done 4 weeks on placement pre-covid which was mainly an observation placement, so going onto my B placement last September I didn’t really know what to expect. My B placement (where I met Emma!) was a mainly an acute role so for me that wasn’t really any different to how I had experienced acute dietetic on my A placement, except a lot more PPE was involved. My C placement is community and I have to admit I am struggling with the lack of variety and face-to-face contact, I have gone from being able to speak to people face-to-face and struggling to complete telephone consultations to being the opposite. I also think it’s difficult being 100+ miles away from home on your own during placement because there’s always that worry of ‘what happens if I get covid? What will I do about food? Will I have to stay here longer?’ but I think now I’m going into week 6, I am starting to feel more confident and I know the end is in sight.
Do you feel you’ve been disadvantaged as a COVID time student?
Sometimes. I have found communication has been poor from the university and they seemed to allocate placements wherever they could. I am enjoying my placement but being placed in Lancashire has been tough because I can’t just easily pop home and again, I am still worried about getting ill and being so far away from my family because they can’t just drop everything to come up to me.
I feel being on a community placement is a bit of a disadvantage as well. In the 5 weeks I’ve been there, I’ve been on 3 home visits and everything else has been over the telephone, which although has its benefits, also means I am disadvantaged going into an acute role when I graduate as I’ll have had limited patient contact over my 12 weeks.
How have you found the experience applying for jobs as a soon-to-be graduate?
They university provided us with a session on CV’s and job applications which was really useful. I have applied for loads of positions all over the country just to see if I could be successful in getting an interview. I have had two interviews for jobs in the Midlands, one that was a total flop because I just could not elaborate on any of the questions asked and one which I was successful for and I am hoping to start when I finish my placement as a Band 3! My advice to anybody applying for their first job is- utilise the word count in the supporting information, show some personality in the interview and read the job specification over and over before the interview!
What are your aspirations for the future?
I’m not actually sure! 6 months ago I had my heart set that I’d one day be a weight management specialist but now I’m not convinced that I want to follow that path. I have just accepted a job as a Trauma and Neurological disorders dietitian so maybe if I enjoy that, I will continue my career in that field and maybe become a critical care specialist. Who knows though, I could absolutely hate acute dietetics and decide to go a completely different direction. As long my job involves food, I’ll be happy.