Expert Opinion

Dietitians Week celebrates students' placement experiences

With the world’s first Dietitians Week underway, June Copeman, Professional Lead for Nutrition and Dietetics, within the School of Health and Wellbeing, reflects on how pre-registration dietetic students are applying their knowledge in practical settings to influence in a positive way the nutrition of the general public.

As part of the BSc Hons Dietetic programme, our students undertake a work based placement. This placement is in addition to the clinical practice placements in the NHS and provides an exciting opportunity for student to experience a different environment where registered dietitians make a significant contribution. Students have the opportunity to work alongside professionals designing and delivering interventions that make a real difference to people’s eating habits, general health and life.

Previous students are clear on the benefits their placements gave them:

  • Nutritional Knowledge - Advance and consolidate previous learning by putting it into practice and develop further comprehension of oral nutritional supplements including their use in clinical areas such as phenylketonuria and paediatric renal disease I cultivated awareness of dietetic roles within a business which included sales, marketing, research and new product development’ Industry placement Liverpool.
  • Culinary: Through Cook it! programme. I am continually trying recipes from the collection of 72 Cook it! recipes. These will be useful to share with patients and have positively impacted my own diet. Northern Ireland Community project
  • Portion sizes: During my time at the Sure Start Centre I was able to learn about the community’s perception of what a portion size is for them and how varied these can be between individuals. During the dietetics degree, I have been taught how to describe portion sizes using household measurements and this placement gave me the opportunity to put this into practice’ Sure Start Manchester
    ‘Throughout this placement I was regularly required to follow recipes, explain culinary instructions and explain why some cooking methods are healthier than others; because of this I now feel that I will have a much greater confidence when advising patients on easy, healthy ways to prepare food.’ Ministry of Food
  • Community cooking session- Running over a 6-week period in a variety of settings such as schools and community centres, I was fully involved in the organisation, planning and running of sessions, this enforced the importance effective team working’ Healthy Living Network Leeds Skills developed:
    • Oral communication I had one to one discussions and exchanged healthy eating information with pre-diabetic people.
    • Presentation/Facilitation: I delivered nutrition & eating well talks and facilitated discussions in the older people’s social groups.
    • Negotiation and influencing: I encouraged group members to make lifestyle changes through suitable suggestions i.e. food choices and recipes.
    ‘ Community Social enterprise venture

Follow @DietitiansWeek on Twitter for more information about activities taking place during the week.

Dietitians Week is led by the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and provides a fantastic opportunity to promote the profession nationally and even globally. Throughout the week the BDA have created a range of activities and events that highlight the value of dietitians and their work, but to also celebrate this work in a fun way.

The Week will include a range of national awareness raising and political events throughout the UK to promote the profession and the impact of dietetic practice on the health of the nation.

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