Today we're chatting to the lovely Roslyn from over at Gray Nutrition!
When did you first know you had an interest in nutrition and/or dietetics?
I remember I was always super excited for Health Promotion Week at my secondary school and I always enjoyed Biology and PE, learning about the human body. My careers’ teacher got me into a local hospital to shadow a dietitian for the day and that was my first experience learning about TPN and I remember thinking how cool that was to work out all the calculations specifically for the patient based on their electrolytes and what their nutritional requirements were.
What areas have you worked in as your time as a dietitian (so far)?
I would say I have a colourful experience working as a dietitian. Post graduating, I spent two years as a rotational band 5 in Lanarkshire (outside Glasgow) where I gained invaluable experience working in the community and also busy general district hospitals. My rotations were in medical and surgical, where I was mainly supporting patients with nutrition support via enteral or parental nutrition. I then spent 2 years locuming in Manchester, locuming allowed me to specialise in different areas and also it allowed me to work for months at a time and travel in between gigs.. During this time I gained experience in specialist roles working in Upper GI, Intestinal failure and I worked in private hospital in oncology which was eye opening see how private health care differed from the NHS. I also worked in paediatrics where I specialised in respiratory and cardiology. I locumed at home in Northern Ireland which was predominantly community paediatrics where I gained further knowledge in paediatric allergies, food intolerance paediatric tube feeding and ARFID. My fun fact is I have worked in every country in the UK! More recently I have specialised in eating disorders and working in CAMHS. I have just started a band 7 role this month where I will have the opportunity for some service development projects in primary care.
Do you have other passions/interests asides from your current role which you’d like to pursue?
I spent 18 months travelling and in this time I started practising yoga (not to be a cliché) but I would love in the future to do my yoga teacher training. I also have set myself a “30 before 30” lists which mainly involves ticking countries off (32 so far) and physical challenges like a triathlon. Taking a career break to travel has been one of the best decisions I have made. I went straight from school to uni and then worked for 4 years and was becoming dis-interested in dietetics. Since I have returned back to working as a dietitian in May 2020 I feel more passionate and motivated compared to a few years ago.
What advice would you give to people who are worried they haven’t found ‘the one’ in terms of jobs yet?
Be patient and say yes to every opportunity you get! Always remember if you don’t ask – you won’t get. I have been in roles that I haven’t enjoyed and when I have
asked to rotate or gain more experience in a different area majority of the time managers have accommodated this.
Depending on personal circumstances if people are unsure about finding “the one” I would encourage them to try a bank role or locuming, it is a brilliant way to dip your toes into different specialities and departments. I have always been well supported when joining as a locum dietitian and I have now met some of my best friends across the UK from 12 week stints here and there!
What advice would you give for someone who’s interested in starting private work alongside their day job?
GO FOR IT! It can seem scary but I have found the freelance world of dietetics to be so supportive and friendly! Before I went travelling I never used social media for dietetics and in the past year I have connected with so many other freelance dietitians via Instagram, it has been such a supportive and encourage space to be in. I would 100% recommend you find a supervisor, someone that is doing freelance and in a speciality, you are interested in. Again say yes to any opportunities you are presented with and join a few Facebook groups like Nutrimote or Nutritribe to connect with others. The BDA also have a freelance group and website which has a few resources for starting out.
I started freelancing alongside full time work and as my confidence has built up, I decided I wanted to reduce my NHS hours - luckily my new job was advertised as a 4 day week which has worked out amazing.