Case study

Registered nutritionist and gut health specialist — Kal Ratcliffe

As a registered nutritional therapist, Kal has worked hard to develop a successful practice, specialising in gut health. Find out more about her work and what it takes to run your own clinic

What degree did you study?

I studied for a BSc Nutritional Therapy at the University of West London, graduating in 2018.

How did you get your job?

I am self-employed and have my own clinic/practice, which I set up shortly after graduating. I run an online practice from home, which means that location is no problem.

What's a typical working day like?

My working day includes actual clinic work and seeing clients for either initial or follow-up consultations. I offer three-month programmes so that I can get better results for my clients. During the day I may also write client nutritional plans, go through test results, conduct case analysis and undertake research to ensure that I work in a way that is evidence based. I may also speak with lab testing companies to get client test results as my packages include functional testing, such as stool tests and blood panels.

On the marketing side, I may spend time during the day creating social media content, writing for my newsletter or producing new handouts for my clients. There is also a fair amount of admin and paperwork involved.

I also spend time keeping up to date with my continuing professional development (CPD) by catching up with webinars or live learning. I also engage in networking activities with fellow nutritional therapists, business coaches and mentors to keep me motivated and on track.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with my clients, empowering and educating them so they can invest in their health through diet and lifestyle changes. It's so rewarding to see these changes and for them to reclaim their health again.

I also love the flexibility of my job and being able to manage the hours that I work.

What are the challenges?

One of the biggest challenges is the lack of time. Working as a self-employed nutritionist means working on all aspects of the practice yourself - from building a practice to running it - which all takes time and can take you away from the main focus of working with clients.

Working on your own can also be pretty isolating, so it's important to have a great network of people around you. You also have to find a good work/life balance, which can be challenging during the early years of building a practice, but does get easier.

In what way is your nutritional therapy degree relevant?

My degree was vital as it provided me with the theoretical and practical knowledge of the science of nutrition. Course modules included topics on a functional medicine approach, which I was able to put into practice through the clinical management sessions in the final year. It also provided an in-depth look into the human body, and the role that nutrition and lifestyle medicine can have on it.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

Since qualifying as a general nutritionist, I have worked with a business mentor to find my area of specialism. I now enjoy working as a gut health specialist to help others reclaim their digestive health and embrace life again.

I have invested in developing both my clinical practice and myself by working with a business coach. The formative years, I feel, are all about starting to practise (to start earning) and reinvesting back into the business to continually build on your skills and services. My ambition is to continually build and grow organically in this way for a sustainable practice so that I can see more people who need my help.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

  • Start practising as soon as you can. Once you start, things will fall into place and your training will come together. You will learn on the job and from your clients.
  • Invest in a business coach as and when you can.
  • Take your time to find your specialism/niche to really help you to attract the right clients for you and the area that you feel passionate about.

Find out more

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