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
I remember the first day of my Dietetics degree and we all went around the circle telling each other why we’d worked so hard to get into this degree. Everyone spilled enthusiasm around food, cooking and health. Then they came to me. I wanted to say the same as everyone else and have them move to the next person, but that would be a lie. The truth was that I wanted to be a dietitian to help people. I knew that food could have a massive impact on people’s lives and I wanted to get in there and help sort out their tummy issues, their food anxieties and hear their stories.
This means that I’m not a dietitian with perfectly styled Instagram posts (check my posts to verify this!) and my handbag is full of handwritten scrawls of food ideas from shopping trips or new information from a study I’ve read. While I had a brief attempt at trying to neaten my approach, the reality is that this makes me the best dietitian I can for my clients. I can relate to the busy and imperfect world around food and I am genuinely interested in your story.
I have unique skills 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 identify what nutrition change is important to them and how to implement it 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. My private practice experience now exceeds 8 years.
I regularly write for the children’s website Kiddipedia.
The course I referred to was a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and I went on to complete 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.