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Claire - Professional Lead for Dietetics and Therapy Operational Manager

Claire Wesselingh
It’s a great way to meet people and help them to improve their health and wellbeing.

You get to work with so many other interesting professionals to support patients.

There are a vast number of places to work and the opportunities to develop are great.

Dietitians are a hard working group of professionals, always striving to improve the evidence base and profile of the profession.

The ones I am fortunate enough to work with each day are a lovely, friendly bunch who really do look after each other as well as their patients.

Claire Wesselingh, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

I currently operationally manage the Dietetic Team plus four other Therapy teams whic involve different professions.

Our staff are so important so I spend time with each of my teams checking they are OK and have what they need. Sometimes time is just spent listening but we also problem solve and celebrate what we have done well. We look for ways to improve the service and consider training needs. They are brilliant at what they do and it is a pleasure to support them.

I work with two other operational managers and we review staffing levels across the service each day, moving staff to support areas with staffing challenges. We review team performance in a number of areas and complete audits and benchmarking. We work with all the directorates we support to troubleshoot any problems but also to plan for future service developments.

As Professional Lead for Dietetics, I look for gaps in our service and identify ways to manage those. I also support the Dietetic team to ensure that our practice is up to date and that we are conducting appropriate audits. I attend a number of steering groups within the organisation to raise the profile of the team and raise awareness of the importance of nutrition to recovery. I provide advice and guidance to support our student training programme and review ways to increase our placement capacity. There is loads more, it is a very busy and varied role.

I graduated from university in 2002 and got my first job at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with a typical varied caseload (Older Adults, Stroke, General Medicine, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Gynaecology and Maternity). I then got involved with leading our student placements which has been hugely valuable, followed by promotion to work in Diabetes out-patients, then returned to Acute setting after maternity leave to work as an Extended Scope Practitioner completing dysphagia (swallowing difficulties) assessments of dysphagia with the Speech and Language Therapists.

I've had the opportunity to work in both paediatrics and adult diabetes care. More recently, I completed part-time project funded by Macmillan to scope out the requirement for Dietitians in the care of patients with upper gastrointestinal cancer.

Currently, I'm underway with completing a part-time Masters in Leadership Development at Edge Hill University.