Good on you for doing your research into finding the right dietitian for you. In the world where information is at our fingertips, it can be hard to discern what information, or which health professional, is suitable for you. And yet, this usually determines how much value you will get from their services. Here are several factors that are important when selecting a Dietitian.
Dietitians in Australia have done 4-5 years at university and are governed by a national body, the Dietitians Association of Australia. A Dietitian who has completed this training and is keeping up to date with the latest information is commonly referred to as an Accredited Practising Dietitian or APD.
Consider both the amount of experience your health professional holds, as well as what areas they have focussed their skills in.
Finding a style that is right for you is paramount to what you are going to get from the service. Different Dietitians will approach your goals in different ways, from simply providing you with information to counselling you with how to make changes to the way you live.
It is important to determine whether your Dietitian’s philosophy matches your own. The best Dietitians keep up to date with the latest evidence-based information and are open-minded about nutrition.
About Sarah Smith
Most important to know is that I can be a mess. Every time I experiment with food at home in the kitchen I make a huge mess. I cannot relate to the Instagram posts of styled food on a plain background (check my posts to verify this!). I also have a bag full of handwritten scrawls of food ideas from shopping trips or new information from a study I’ve read.
I’ve tried to change, but the reality is that this makes me the best dietitian I can for my clients. I can relate to the busy and imperfect world and yet I still think it is possible to nourish yourself and/or your family with realistic ideas.
My strengths as a Dietitian come from the unique expertise I have in counselling which allows me to explore the underlying beliefs and behaviours that may be making dietary change difficult. In my experience it is rare for someone to come and see me to say “I don’t know what to do” and instead I help people with identifying which parts of all the nutrition advice they have been given are the important one parts and then explore how to follow them with consistency.
My other strength is the vast experience I hold. I worked for 15 years at Monash Children’s Hospital and was the Dietitian to establish the Butterfly Day Program for Eating Disorders. I have completed research into children’s nutrition and eating disorders. I have focussed on children in all areas, eating disorders (of any age), and adult gut issues, FODMAPs, and weight management.
Early days I completed a 5 year Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics before completing post-graduate certification in Paediatric Nutrition. I am a qualified APD and maintains up to date registration with the Dietitians Association of Australia. I am also a registered Nutritionist.