Solid Advice For New and Seasoned Dietitians
By Wendy Buell, MS, RD, CDN
With graduations happening all over the country for the class of 2017 I find myself thinking… what advice would I give my newly-graduated dietitian self? First and foremost – time will fly! Seemingly faster the older you get! So while it may sound cliché, enjoy every minute and truly live in the moment (with an eye on the future) in each of your nutrition career experiences. Here are a few things I would tell my brand new-dietitian self:
1. You’ll get through the exam
I remember scheduling my exam – I scheduled it out of town so I couldn’t run into anyone I knew and get distracted from the task at hand. I studied for weeks – I was ready! I remember not telling anyone I was taking the exam for fear that I might not pass. What a mistake! I could have used the support and encouragement of others around me to remind me that I’d get through it just fine.
2. Be confident in your knowledge and training
Your first job out of school can be scary – people are looking to you to be the expert! Don’t feel like you have to know everything. Find a mentor in your chosen field and ask questions… lots of questions. It takes some time to develop your unique brand and the way you want to deliver your message. Get out there and practice practice practice ! People can sense authenticity, so let your voice shine bright.
3. Be prepared with a quick response
Once you tell someone you are a dietitian they will stare at your plate and analyze your every bite. Everyone eats therefore everyone is an expert. Brace yourself, sometimes nutrition discussions can get intense. Humor and quick wit will help a lot in these situations.
4. Go out and try new things
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If it scares you – go for it! The best way to get over your fear of something is to do it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that anything you try has to be THE thing you’ll do forever. It’s very likely that it’ll take trying a variety of settings until you find the one that fits you best. Be open to all the opportunities that present themselves to you and go out and create some for yourself.
5. Nutrition is a life-long learning career
We are all students of life and that doesn’t change just because we graduated from school. The best thing about nutrition is that’s it’s an ever changing profession. There are always new and exciting learning opportunities. Whether it is within your current field or something in another area you might want to hear more about. Develop your existing skills and learn some new ones. Enjoy the journey!
Your slightly older, wiser self
Wendy has worked for Dietitians On Demand since 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nutrition Science and a Master’s Degree in Applied Nutrition and is a certified Dietitian/Nutritionist in NYS.
Dietitians On Demand is a nation-wide staffing company for Registered Dietitians. Some of our positions are open to new grads who have already passed the CDR exam! Check out our openings here: dietitiansondemand.com/find-job/