We have pulled together a list of things that we think would be useful if you are starting out as a Dietitian new to the field of eating disorders. We know how daunting it can be, whether it's a career change, a promotion or a field you're starting to specialise in; we want to make this easier for you. Our list comprises of advice and resources for anyone starting out, once you are familiar with the basics then drop us a message and we can let you know where you can find more resources for things specific to your role.
With thanks to Eating Disorder Dietitian's Lisa Waldron and Zoe Light for their support with this blog. Give them a follow on social media - @zoethedietitian @lisawaldrondietitian (instagram).
Find a Supervisor with Experience in the Field
One of the best investments you can make early in your career is to seek out a supervisor with significant experience in the realm of eating disorders. A supervisor can provide invaluable insights, share practical strategies, and help you navigate the complexities of this specialist field. Their guidance will be instrumental in honing your skills and building confidence in your abilities.
Prioritise Your Mental Health
Working in the field of eating disorders can be emotionally demanding. It's crucial to prioritise your mental health to ensure you can provide the best possible care for your clients. Regularly engage in self-reflection, seek supervision for your own professional development, and don't hesitate to seek support when needed. Establishing healthy boundaries and self-care practices early on will contribute to your long-term success and prevent burn out.
Be Selective with Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
The world of Eating Disorders Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can be overwhelming. Focus on courses and workshops led by registered dietitians with expertise in eating disorders. Choose topics that are relevant to your specific areas of practice, as this will enable you to apply your newfound knowledge directly to your work. Remember, it's not about doing everything at once – take your time to absorb and integrate what you learn into your practice effectively and work with your supervisor on agreed competencies. Remember that UK CPD will be more in line with your practice.
Listen to Those You Work With
Your clients are your greatest teachers. Take the time to listen actively and empathetically to their experiences. They will provide unique insights into how eating disorders affect them, helping you tailor your approach to meet their individual needs. This is where your communication skills are key!
Seek a Mentor Who Has Walked a Similar Path
Having a mentor who has graduated and walked a similar path in the field of eating disorders can be immensely beneficial. They can offer guidance on overcoming challenges, share personal experiences, and provide a different perspective on your professional journey.
Starting your career in eating disorders dietetics is a journey filled with learning, growth, and meaningful connections. Embrace each experience, remain open to learning, and remember that your dedication to understanding and supporting your clients will make a lasting impact on their lives. As you embark on this path, may your passion for helping others drive you to become an empathetic, skilled, and compassionate professional in the field.
To help you get started here some suggestions that can be useful for people new to working in this area:
Websites for resources and guidance that may be helpful: British Dietetic Association Centre for Clinical Interventions - https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Disordered-Eating Beat Eating Disorders - https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/about-beat/policy-work/policy-and-best-practice-reports/ Royal College of Psychiatry - https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/members/your-faculties/eating-disorders-psychiatry/news-and-resources
New Maudsley Carers: https://newmaudsleycarers-kent.co.uk
To understand the patient perspective
Book - My Friend, Jane by Megan Ravenhall You Tube - Megsy Recovery - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCey1WBhNthBx0vDy-pHe9uw
Books about Eating Disorders
Skills-based Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Method
Medical Management of Eating Disorders
Mental Health Group of the BDA
British Eating Disorders Society - https://www.breds.org.uk
Online CPD Mental Health Group of the BDA Sarah Elder Nutrition - https://www.saraheldernutrition.co.uk/healthprofessionaltraining and https://www.saraheldernutrition.co.uk/category/all-products
The Full of Beans Podcast
Body Whys Podcast