What is your job about?
I’m currently working as a Clinical Dietitian at the Manila Central University (MCU) Hospital where I also serve as the Staff In-Charge Dietetics Supervisor.
A Clinical Dietitian is in-charge of nutrition counselling and assessment to all inpatients and outpatients that the hospital caters to. We provide the diet instructions based on our interpretation of the doctor's dietary requirements and restrictions for the patient.
What is your background?
I’m a graduate of BS Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the East. The school actually has a good training program for us. For example, we have in-house activities like actual nutrition counselling to athletes as well as UE employees and students. This way we can help with their weight management issues and other diet-related concerns. We also had an open house wherein we essentially opened kiosks and food services within the campus where we catered to the UE community.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Unfortunately, the job entails a license, so only graduates of BS Nutrition and Dietetics and consequently, board passers, can serve as a Clinical Dietitian. Though there are several classifications of a dietitian such as an administrative dietitian, and therapeutic dietitian, among others, my role specifically is expertise hence the need for a licensure exam.
What should I do to succeed?
For me, what I did was really make the extra effort to learn how things are done in the workplace. Being board passers, we know we are already equipped with the technical knowledge to succeed in our field. However, there still are a lot of things that weren’t really taught in school. So just be patient and open to learning new things and continuously working on improving yourself.
If there are trainings and seminars, just go for it and attend. You’ll definitely learn a lot not just from the instructors but also from fellow dietitians.
What are the skills needed for this position?
First and foremost would be communications skills. We deal with a wide variety of people. However, not all of them are very familiar with the medical terms that we know as dietitians. Hence we should be able to translate our findings and analysis to the simplest, most understandable term as possible for our patients.
The second would be critical thinking. Ultimately we are trying to solve the problems of our patients. Thus we should be able to find a diagnosis to their concerns based on the data in front of us.
What’s the best thing about your job?
What I really enjoy the most is being able to share my knowledge and use it to take good care of our patients. For me, being able to help others in my own little way and having an impact on their health is what I would call the highlight of my job.
What do you not like about your job?
With the pandemic still around, it’s still scary to be around a lot of people. Working inside a hospital, it’s doubly frightening. But at the same time, this is the nature of our work and our patients need us, so we just have to power through. The good news is the situation is already easing up so it’s looking brighter as of the moment.
What is your advice to the students looking at a career in the industry
Follow your heart - at the end of the day, your job is the one that you’ll be doing for a long time. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’ll never get the satisfaction, you’ll get burnt out, and you won’t last long in the industry.
Maximize your stay in the college - you’ll only be in college once, so just enjoy your stay. There are things that you won’t get to do once you are already working. Build your network of friends and contacts – you’ll never know if you’ll meet them again in the industry. Who knows, they might be good mentors or colleagues to you as well.
What are the things to consider when choosing a job?
Passion - being someone who really loves her job, I think choosing a career or job you are most passionate about is the most important thing to consider.
Location - one thing that is underappreciated now is the proximity to the workplace. With the pandemic, it’s really difficult to commute and travel from your home to the work location.
Salary - you should know your worth, and you should seek a job which can provide you all your basic needs. At the end of the day, we are working because we want to earn money for our plans and necessities.