Anya - ICU & Surgery
What makes dietitians great?
Our ability to build rapport and relationships with others, whether that be patients, consultants or anyone in-between. I think this helps us not only be effective in our interventions, but ensures we are well-integrated into the wider MDT, even if our physical presence is less frequent than other professions.
Anya Rees, East Cheshire NHS Trust
I was fortunate enough to study home economics at school and this helped me decide that I wanted a career related to nutrition. Further reading made me realise that I was most interested in working with individuals on a personal level to improve their health, symptoms and quality of life – and this led me to discover dietetics.
Around this time a family member was also seen by a Dietitian, and hearing of my relative’s positive experience confirmed to me that this was the career for me. I love food myself and so a job that allows me to talk about food and help people maintain a healthy relationship with it is very rewarding! I also enjoy the vast variety of interventions that we can make as dietitians.
In my current role, I am the acute team lead with a clinical caseload of patients based primarily on the intensive care unit (ICU) and the surgical wards, although I may find myself on any hospital ward given the small size of the hospital and dietetic team!
In my career so far, I have moved around quite a lot in order to gain experience in the clinical areas that interest me. In conjunction with supportive managers who have encouraged attendance at various study days and professional development events, participation in service development, and clinical supervision I have steadily increased my knowledge and developed my skills in the clinical areas that interest me most.
After studying in Surrey my first role was close to home, in Stafford, covering someone's maternity leave. I subsequently worked in several hospitals in the Midlands before moving to Glasgow for a surgical/ICU post. Personal circumstances saw me return to the Midlands in 2019 and take up a specialist ICU post at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
After the Covid-19 pandemic and associated personal challenges (like so many others) I decided at the start of 2022 that it was time for a change of pace, a new challenge and a fresh start – which led me to apply for the role I am now in.
What's the best thing about being a Dietitian?
For me - the variety! I enjoy the fact that my job sees me using a multitude of different nutritional interventions each day - parenteral nutrition, ICU patients who are sedated in a coma and fed through a nasogastric feeding tube, patients requiring a mixture of nutritional intake interventions, and patients with nutritional barriers such as taste changes, early satiety, and physical barriers.
Add into this the non-clinical elements of dietetics, such as audit, service development, presentations and student-training, and there is no room for repetitiveness or monotony!