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Perspectives from Dietitians Working in Various Settings
What is it like being a dietitian working in a food service setting?
“Very exciting! I work at Dalhousie University for ARAMARK Higher Education. I offer private and group consulting to students, Dal staff and ARAMARK staff - also presentations and weight loss programs. I also teach Food Safety training certifications, allergy and sustainability in-services to ARAMARK staff. Menu development, website updates and theme nights.”

Advice to students in the Applied Human Nutrition program at the Mount:
“Be open to working in different settings. Dietetics can be very diverse.”

Angela Emmerson, P.Dt. Administrative Dietitian with ARAMARK Higher Education foodservice company at Dalhousie University.

What is it like being a dietitian working in a community setting?

“It is extremely enjoyable as I work with people who are usually motivated to change and who are eagerly seeking nutrition information.  The environment I work in is casual and very comfortable for the client.”
What would you want to tell nutrition students about what it is like working as a community dietitian?
“I think it is great as you can get a taste for the many worlds of dietetics.  I see people with chronic disease and I also see people who just want to know how to eat healthy or read a label, so the diversity is wonderful.”

Laurie Barker Jackman, PDt. Community dietitian with Sobeys in Halifax.

What is it like being a dietitian working in an educational and private practice setting?

“It is challenging and exciting and gratifying all at once! Each day is unlike the next and you are constantly learning new things about yourself and your clients.”

Tristaca Caldwell MSc, PDt. Fueling with Food

What is it like being a dietitian working in a consultant setting? What would you want to tell nutrition students about what it is like working as a consulting dietitian?

“As a Consultant, you can work as little or as much as you want, but if you want to make a good living, you work all the time! You must be self motivated, find you niche – something that no-one else does, network constantly, promote yourself constantly, and always provide quality work. And best of all, you have the best boss in the world - yourself!”

Mary Sue Waisman, MSc PDt.

What is it like being a dietitian working in a community setting like Sobeys?

“Working for Sobeys is never the same. We are more a general dietitian since we do a bit of everything. We do individual and group sessions. The job is very flexible, you do your own schedule. We do sessions in store and in the community. It's a fun job since you work with motivated people that want to change their eating habits.”

A Sobeys Dietitian in New Brunswick  

What is it like being a dietitian working in a private practice setting?

“Being a dietitian working in private practice is very fulfilling and takes
a lot of commitment. To be successful, you will need to develop strong
clinical nutrition knowledge, business savvy and a willingness to never stop learning."

Kelley Hiltz-Cameron, PDt. Core Nutrition & Medicine in Motion

What is it like being a dietitian working in a clinical setting?
“Working as a clinical dietitian at the IWK is dynamic and very exciting. My work is always changing and I am constantly learning new things. I do a lot more than just inpatient clinical dietetics. I also do a lot of committee work, counseling outpatients in the clinic, research and patient improvement projects. As a clinical dietitian in woman’s health, I complete nutrition assessments for pregnant women or those wishing to become pregnant. I plan menus, counsel in the areas of pregnancy and preconception; particularly related to obesity. I follow my patients over time, and provide a gynecology-nutrition clinic on Tuesdays and am part of a diabetes women's health team. I work in collaboration with a group of health professionals including: obstetricians, nurses, diabetes specialists, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, spiritual care workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and residents. I have written for magazines and newspapers and I have done television interviews as well. Being a clinical dietitian is a great career. Working with a team of many dietitians with so much to offer is wonderful. I can’t imagine working in any other field!”
What would you want to tell nutrition students about what it is like working as a clinical dietitian? 
“Be prepared for anything in clinical dietetics. You never know what you are going to see each day and you are constantly learning new things. While in university, I think it is very important to learn and be curious. Practically speaking, a good knowledge of hormones will serve you well in understanding obesity. The role of hormones at different stages of life is very important. As women, we should almost come with a manual to know about what hormones are important to be aware of during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause! There are many aspects to our health, and understanding systems in our environment really can contribute to our help with others. I learned systems theory while I was a student at the Mount. It was most valuable to me in my helping of others and understanding issues that face us in our work and life. Being creative and having a good understanding of marketing would be advice that I would give to others entering the profession.”

Cathie Walsh, PDt. IWK Health Center: Women’s Health