Journey to being a Dietitian (Study Q + A)
My Journey to be a Dietitian
I have never really thought about sharing how I got into Dietetics and becoming a Dietitian. It wasn’t until many Undergraduate Dietitian’s or Nutritionists contacted me asking whether I regretted my choice of career and if I would have done anything differently going back again.
So, if you are contemplating whether to get into Dietetics or just interested in hearing what my degree / study path was like, then this is for you.
Coming out of high school with an average OP score (10), I accepted a Bachelor of Arts placement at the University of Queensland (UQ). I really had no idea what I was going to study, but my OP was not high enough to get into a course that was a bit more ‘meatier’.
With my first year of the Bachelor of Arts Degree, I chose subjects which interested me: Psychology, Nutrition Science and music; I even did a sneaky Philosophy course (probably not for me).
After my first year in this Degree, my GPA (Grade Point Average) was high enough (Equivalent of an OP 2) that I could get into a harder course. I was luckily accepted at this point into the Masters of Dietetics Degree after doing the Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Science.
I believe the normal progression into Dietetics is the Bachelor of Exercise Science (or another degree with doing Biochemistry subjects) and then applying to get in to the Masters of Dietetics program. I was lucky enough to get a provisional place in the Masters program from the beginning as long as I kept up a good GPA.
I began my Undergraduate degree in 2012. I had unknowingly completed a few of the course requirements in my ‘Arts Year’ (Such as NUTR1023 and PSYC1020 and PSYC1040, I hope these subjects are named the same for anyone at UQ). Therefore my first few years of my Undergraduate Degree were slightly less than the rest of the grade, which gave me time to work almost full time as a Barista to keep those funds a’ flowin’.
Bachelor of Exercise Nutrition Science
Getting a little bit more ‘nitty-gritty’ with courses and what not, so bare with me as I explain some more.
The first ~2 years were pretty much a straight science degree (with an exercise focus). We did basic chemistry, physics, biology, health promotion, organic chemistry, physiology anatomy and biomechanics. I really enjoyed the variety of these courses and felt like we covered the basics well. My only criticism of these first few semesters was that they had no ‘in-depth’ Nutrition courses. I didn’t even know if I had chosen the right career path (I was already accepted into Dietetics) so it would have been great to do some metabolism courses of get a taste of nutrition (pardon the pun) before I had put a few years of money and effort into it. With that being said, MANY students do the Undergraduate degree I did and go off on a different career path (physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, Health Promotion etc.) so in retrospective it wouldn’t have been fair to have the majority of the courses just about nutrition.
The next year was more Nutrition oriented. Doing a few Food Science Courses and biochemistry courses it was definitely getting more heated in terms of course content and the amount of study needed. Towards of the end of this Degree I found it quite hard to juggle study with part-time work, as the content was quite intense. I managed to get through it all and took up my place in the Masters course.
Just a little FYI. At the end of this degree, I was technically a “Nutritionist”. In complete honesty, I didn’t think I had learnt ‘enough’ to REALLY have a solid grasp on all things nutrition, therefore, this is where the Dietetic component was needed.
Masters of Dietetics
Into my favourite part of my study. This was a one-and-a-half year course, which was at the University of Queensland. I LOVED this course. The lecturers were amazing and really down-to-earth. I felt I could go to them with anything! Some of the initial courses were either medical nutrition therapy (learning about nutrition for different medical conditions), counselling and interviewing techniques (for Dietetic consults) or food service. In the first few weeks we started heading to Hospitals for our ‘practical’ component. This was two days a week for the entire year! Other Universities in Brisbane do this slightly different (they do it in ‘blocks’ rather than a few days each week).
Through this practical experience, I learnt how to apply the nutrition knowledge to MANY conditions in a hospital and outpatient setting. So this included things like; malnutrition, kidney and liver disease, respiratory disease, pressure injuries, wound healing, fractures in orthopedics, gastroenterology, diabetes and general weight loss. The list was HUGE. We got to see and assess many patients, which was priceless. Every Dietitian ‘preceptor’ I had was amazing and taught me unique tips and tricks that I now use in my clinical practice.
Even though the degree is focused heavily on clinical conditions and cases, it is a great degree! There were other courses sprinkled out throughout the year to try and cover a few other interest groups. We had guest lecturers come to talk about Private Practice, got to do a research subject, did a few ‘business’ subjects. However, would I do it again? Definitely!
I now work in SO many areas of Dietetics. Even though Clinical work is only a small portion of what I do for ‘a living’, I can utilise many of the other skills taught throughout my study in my current jobs.
Since my degree, I have completed my Sports Dietetics Course down in Geelong. I work for an amazing Fitness Franchise. I consult out to businesses for recipe development, blog content, product reviews etc. and I do my own Instagram content on the side.
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