Patricia has a portfolio career combining private practice with academic work. Find out her top tips for succeeding as a nutritional therapist
How did you get your job as a nutritional therapist?
I studied for a BSc (Hons) Nutritional Science at the Centre for Nutritional Education and Lifestyle Management (CNELM), graduating in 2017. I then went on to complete CNELM's Nutritional Therapy Practice Diploma in 2018.
After completing the Diploma in the autumn of 2018, I set up my own private nutritional therapy practice. Around the same time I successfully applied for the job of module leader on the BSc Nutritional Science degree programme at CNELM, and started working there in January 2019.
What's a typical working day like?
Having recently qualified, much of my time at the moment is spent developing and growing my private practice. This is done primarily through delivering group educational talks and workshops on a variety of subjects, such as the menopause and toddler nutrition.
Every day I set aside time to organise and work on any upcoming group workshops, develop content for the various nutritional programmes that I offer and keep on top of my general business administration.
How I spend the rest of my day varies according to what I've got scheduled. I may see a private client for a consultation, have a meeting with another healthcare provider to discuss how we can work together or, as part of my module leader role, I may answer student queries, deliver tutorials and lectures, or grade assignments.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy having a portfolio career and the flexibility that it brings to my working life. Working in nutrition and having the opportunity to be able to help empower others to take control of their health is very rewarding.
My role at CNELM enables me to continue to develop and hone my critical thinking and research skills. I relish being within an academic environment that allows me to continually learn and keep abreast of the latest scientific research.
What are the challenges?
Building up your own profitable practice is hard work and takes time. I spend a large proportion of my time working from home and sometimes miss the camaraderie of being in an environment where you have colleagues who you can turn to for support and encouragement.
It's been a steep learning curve running my own business - I've had to become my own IT, accounts, data protection and promotions department!
Is your degree relevant?
Having a degree in nutritional science is extremely relevant, as I've received a thorough grounding in all aspects of nutrition from a functional medicine perspective.
During the degree and practice diploma I was taught how to critically evaluate and communicate complex scientific information in a clear, concise and client-centred manner. This is invaluable, as a large part of my job involves communicating nutritional information to the general public.
My qualifications from CNELM also allowed me to register and become a full member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I've been offered further work with CNELM and am now responsible for leading two of their undergraduate modules.
My career ambitions are to further develop and grow my business and client base, while exploring the opportunities available to me in academia and research.
What are your tips for aspiring nutritional therapists?
- Get involved with BANT student groups and attend your BANT local network meetings. This will give you an invaluable insight into the profession and provide you with networking opportunities as you train.
- Use the many free social media platforms available to build awareness, promote your business and generate a future potential client base.
- Be proactive, persistent and resilient as it can take time to establish yourself and to create the right opportunities.
Find out more
- Learn more about the role of a nutritional therapist.
- See what else you can do with a career in nutrition.