Joe has shared the unconventional but inspirational way he took to get into the field of dietetics so he could do a job he knew he would love.

Joe Anderson, who is a community dietitian said: “I believe my route into Dietetics is definitely atypical. In secondary school I was far from academic being forced to leave school early in year 11 with just a handful of scraped GCSEs.

JA dietitians Week.JPG“I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew I had interests in health and sport which intrigued me to study Sports Coaching locally at Lakes College where I was first introduced to a basic nutrition module.

“From here I knew I wanted to chase something nutrition related, I went on to complete a foundation year in Applied Sciences as a substitute for having no A levels, which allowed me to progress to the undergraduate course Human Nutrition at Northumbria University. 

“For me this was the biggest learning curve, getting to grips with how to write scientifically after having a B-Tec background instead of the typical sixth form route, but the interest to know more about nutrition carried me through to successfully complete a Master’s degree in Dietetics at Leeds Beckett University.  

“Returning to Cumbria to work has definitely been a benefit in my eyes, I have been on placement in several larger NHS trusts across the North and the environments have definitely not matched what NCIC has to offer. It is a very accepting and fair place to work, and living in cities has also allowed me to appreciate Cumbria for what it has to offer, as I think we all probably take the natural beauty for granted.

“The best part about being a Community Dietitian is no day or patient is the same. I enjoy the variety the role has to offer, working with patients from all walks of life and offering practical advice to treat nutrition related problems at an individual and group level.”

“To become a dietitian you need to complete a degree in dietetics, this can be a 3 or 4 year undergraduate course. You usually need biology and chemistry a-levels or qualifications of an equivalent standard such as foundation course in science. There is also a post graduate programme for 2 years which can be studied if you have a previous degree with an acceptable level of physiology and biochemistry.”

A new route emerging into dietetics is a degree apprenticeship which combines vocational work based learning with study for a university degree.

To find out more about a career in dietetics you can go to the Association of UK Dietitians website or take a look at current NCIC career opportunities.

What is a dietitian?

Dietitians in the NHS work with all ages across the population. They study the science of food and nutrition and how this affects people’s health. They use what they know to prevent disease and treat medical conditions.

Dietitians investigate a patient’s nutritional needs, work out someone’s food and fluid intake based on their eating habits and create a care plan with advice on how to follow it.

They support patients who need extra help with their feeding such as tube feeding and they work with other health and medical professionals on the best diet plans to meet a patient’s needs.

Dietitians can help with:

  • Putting on weight lost due to eating difficulties or old age
  • IBS and tummy problems
  • Eating disorders
  • Losing weight
  • Problems feeding babies and children
  • Putting on weight due to illness
  • Diet and the menopause
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Managing diabetes
  • Medical conditions like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and COPD.

The Association of UK Dietitians explains that working as a dietitian is enjoyable, diverse and secure. If you are interested in food, people, health and nutrition, it may be the job for you.

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