Are you a dietitian or a new graduate looking for work? Here are some questions we’ve received that relate specifically to different dietitian roles, work environments and job opportunities that may be able to help you too.
Q. When is a good time to start with volunteering and work experience
A. Yesterday. Just do as much as you can. You’ll be a step ahead of everyone else
Q. Do you know where to start or who is good to approach in (insert town here)?
A. No one is bad to approach. Approach the people you respect and want to work with first. Then use Google. Then use DAA website and Find an APD function. You can also use Sports Dietitians Australia website and Find an AccSD. There are no “bad” options. Doing work experience not only helps you learn skills but build your network. Not only finding out what you like or are good at, but often more importantly finding out what you don’t like and need to upskill in.
Q. I am looking at getting work in dietetic research, any advice?
A. Unless you are aligned with a university, there are very little dietetic research roles. Having said that, working in food industry often incorporates research.
Q. I want to become a sports dietitian, what should I do?
A. Do you have any experience as a dietitian? Worked or volunteered in sport? Have you completed the Sports Nutrition Course at the AIS to become a Provisional Sports Dietitian? The other HUGE thing in sport is become ISAK trained. You will open so many doors (even without the Sports Dietitian qualification) if you are able to ACCURATELY measure skinfolds.
Q. Do part-time roles in hospitals exist?
A. It can be difficult to find the right roles if you are looking part-time and not contract. Almost all – even full-time positions – in hospitals are often 12months contracts just based on funding for the roles.
Q. Will you be supported more as a new graduate in a hospital or private practice setting?
A. You can be equally as unsupported or supported in a hospital vs private practice. It all depends on what “support” looks like to you? We may be biased, but with our large business we pride ourselves on the level of support, development and guidance we give our staff – and we are a private practice. If you want to be go and see client, and then walk out of the room and talk to your manager in person and ask them for the answer – then hospital 100% wins over private practice. But if you work in private practice FOR SOMEONE, and not just for yourself, we hope that that person will support the shit out of you. We know it doesn’t happen as often as we would like to see in other organisations, but there are some really good ones out there with great business owners and senior clinicians that put their staff support and development at the forefront.
Q. The thought of having to deal with the business side of things in private practice is very daunting. How do you handle it?
A. Why would you have to deal with the business side? Why not work for a private practice where you don’t have to deal with the business side? You just do the clinical work and your admin associated with your work (just as you would in a hospital). You don’t have to start your own business to work in PP.
Q. How do I progress from my role as a dietitian assistant to a dietitian within the same company?
A. In our experience very few dietitians working as dietitian assistants actually transition to a dietitian role in the hospital. Not all, but many have to look elsewhere to land work. I would instead be looking at getting part-time/full-time positions elsewhere, get experience, then when your hospital (if that is all you want to do) puts up their next position you not only know their system, but you then have experience.
Q. Would working in a hospital or private practice give me more face-to-face time with clients?
A. In terms of face-to-face time, in private practice positions there is likely more face-to-face time with clients than in hospital. Moreover, you will likely (hopefully) see them more often and have ability to see the longer term impact of your changes – if you do it right. Community roles as well (depending on where) can be hugely front facing, vs what most people assume these roles are just the often dreaded “public health” role.