Molly works as a Band 5 dietitian for an NHS specialist trust covering comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services. Find out more about her work and why she finds it so rewarding
What degree did you study?
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Chester in 2021.
How did you get your job?
I came across my current job on the NHS website. I knew I really enjoyed tube feeding and felt this was an area where I could be most useful. I had also researched working on an intensive care unit and found this extremely interesting, due to the many considerations you have to take into account when formulating a dietetic care plan and the importance of a dietitian in this setting. When I saw the advertisement, I had to apply.
What's a typical working day like?
I cover the neurosurgical wards daily and help out on the neurology ward. A large majority of the patients I see are spinal, trauma, vascular and oncology patients.
A typical day tends to involve discussing new referrals in the morning and establishing what priority scoring to give them, to help us prioritise our case load. I often spend some time collecting information and drafting a template for an initial assessment or review. I then head to the ward where I collect information from bed-end files and medical notes. I also speak to nursing staff and patients, if they are able to communicate, in order to create a patient-centred care plan.
I attend regular multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings and discuss dietetic management plans and goals for patients.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It's extremely rewarding when you see patients, who have been admitted to the intensive care unit with, for example, a brain injury, move on to the acute wards, where they are able to make significant progress and improvements.
I also enjoy attending our weekly trauma and neurovascular MDT meetings, which involve discussing patient progress and planning for discharge.
What are the challenges?
Having worked in a general district hospital prior to my current job, I feel I have built a good foundation of knowledge. However, due to the specialist nature of my current role, I come across a lot of unfamiliar terminology on a daily basis. To help with this, I make sure I have a notebook handy at all times and take time to do continuing professional development (CPD) activities to increase my knowledge.
How is your degree relevant?
My degree in nutrition and dietetics enabled me to become a registered dietitian on the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register, enabling me to practise in the UK.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
My role has developed significantly since I've started working in a specialist trust, giving me more exposure to tube feeding, including long-term feeding tubes, and also to MDT working.
I would like in the future, possibly, to work on the intensive care unit. However, I am really enjoying my role at the moment and feel extremely lucky to be working in a specialist trust.
What's your advice to others wanting to get into this job?
- Undertake your own reading on the anatomy of the brain and spinal cord to provide a basic understanding to underpin your work.
- Practise your tube feeds.
- Make yourself familiar with clinical guidelines in order to guide your practice.