We receive so many messages from dietitians or students saying they only want to work in a hospital or only want to be a sports dietitian or only want to work in private practice. Then when we ask them if they’ve experienced all of the work environments, they’ll often say no.
How do you know if you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it.
A recent conversation I had went like this:
NEW GRADUATE: I am a new graduate looking for hospital work primarily but open to community work in Sydney only.
ME: why only Sydney? And what part of Sydney exactly? And why is hospital work your focus?
NEW GRADUATE: I live in Sydney and not in a position to move elsewhere. South, south west, western Sydney and Sydney city. I enjoy the clinical aspect of dietetics in particular paediatrics and the hospital setting
ME: Alright cool. So at least that opens it up a bit. I guess the follow up question then would be – have you worked in another setting other than hospital? How do you know you wouldn’t like another setting? When you say clinical, it grinds a little, as working in private practice or aged care, can be just as clinical. Even sport can be classified as clinical if you drill down. So what is it about hospital that actually makes that the only place to be?
NEW GRADUATE: The only other experiences I’ve had are my uni prac blocks. One being food service in mental health and another doing policy work at cancer council. I preferred having a group of other more experienced dietitians to work with and have the support of. I am open to other places including community or sports dietetics but hospital would be my first choice.
ME: All good! Always like to hear the perspective. As people often say hospital for that same reason. There is a lot of support in other roles that new grads don’t even consider. Because they believe that there isn’t anywhere better than a hospital. Ultimate advice, the more that you corner yourself off from opportunities the harder it will be for you to get the role you want. If you don’t get one within the first 3 months, cause all you did was apply for hospital work because you believe that’s best, you could be one that has no work and twiddling your thumbs. Advice; if you ONLY want to be in Sydney, you need to apply for everything. Otherwise I’d tell you to apply for every hospital job in Australia, if that’s all you want to do.
If you find yourself narrowing your options just like this, maybe it’s time to reassess and consider how bad you want to be a dietitian? Apply for everything, get experience and then go after chasing your dream job.