Dietitians Week

Posted: 03/06/24

Dietitians Week runs from 3-7 June and this year is about celebrating the good work dietitians do.

Our dietetics team is made up of 30 registered dietitians, four dietetic support workers, six assistant practitioners and two administration officers. They play an integral role in meeting the nutritional needs of all patients in CNTW, providing services across a range of specialist areas including eating disorders, learning disabilities, neuro rehabilitation, autism and secure care. The team works into inpatient wards, community treatment teams, patients’ homes and care homes. They also provide training and education to staff, undertake research and audits, and develop nutrition policies.

To celebrate Dietitians Week, staff from the team have shared their career stories:


My first job was when I was 15 and I worked in a small care home in the evenings. I loved the job and decided I wanted to work in care when I left school.

For a while I carried on working with older people then when I was 21, I began working in a large group home for people with learning disabilities. After 12 years, I worked my way up to acting manager covering different group homes. I then decided I wanted to be a social worker. I applied and was accepted. I was then offered a place on a health and social care course which I thankfully decided to accept instead.

On the course, I had to do a health promotion placement and was tasked with evaluating a community health project run by Gateshead Dietetics Service. When I graduated, I spent two years working for the Alzheimer’s Society. The funding for this post ended and I was looking for work. I saw an advert with Gateshead Dietetics Service in the same team who ran the health promotion project. I worked there for several years until I saw an advert for a dietetic support worker to work in mental health. I was offered the post and 12 years later, I still enjoy my role.

I am now doing the Dietetic Apprenticeship programme and have just completed the first of three years. I won’t lie, it’s not easy, but I get a lot of support from the team. I’m looking forward to graduating and I’m sure when I graduate, I’ll be in the best place to offer good quality care to patients.


I always knew I wanted to work in mental health services but wasn’t aware of all the different Allied Health Professional (AHP) roles besides nursing. I joined the Trust in 2014 as a nursing assistant on an inpatient child and adolescent ward, with the idea to progress into mental health nursing.

Caring for some of the most unwell young people was very challenging but rewarding. I enjoyed seeing their journey to recovery. Three years in, I sustained a serious injury and couldn’t continue safely working in this role for medical reasons. This was difficult to process and I felt unsure about my future career options.

My manager and Workforce were really supportive and we went through the potential options with occupational health. I was supported through the redeployment process and presented with some possible roles. I initially tried an admin role but found I was missing direct patient contact.

I applied for a job as a dietetic assistant. I was unsure of what dietitians do and was surprised by the wide variety of tasks they do and the important role they play in disease prevention and management. Working with the experienced dietitians in the Trust has helped me better appreciate the relationship between mental health and nutrition. It’s nearly seven years since I joined the dietetics team. I look forward to completing the apprenticeship programme with the support of my manager Gill Senior and the Academy and will hopefully become a qualified dietitian in the next few years.


When I left school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something related to science, so did a foundation year in applied sciences. In my foundation year, I did areas of different courses and really enjoyed food science and nutrition, so I decided to do this as a three-year degree. I did my degree during the pandemic and once I graduated, I was really keen to get into the world of work. I worked in chemical sales for around a year after university before I got a job as a dietetic assistant with the Trust. I’ve recently started a Masters apprenticeship in Dietetics and Leadership with Coventry University, which I’m doing alongside my job. I’m due to graduate as a qualified dietitian in December 2025.


When I was younger, I became interested in healthy eating and weight management due to my personal weight loss journey. Nutrition and cooking became a passion of mine and I decided to start a nutrition degree after completing an access course. On finishing my degree, I found it difficult to find a job in my field in the area I live and was still unsure of exactly what path to go down. As part of a placement at university, I worked in food production and ended up working there for four years after my studies.

In 2022, I saw an advert for a dietetics assistant in mental health and learning disabilities. I got the job and started in April 2022. I have learnt so much and gained a lot of valuable experience in two years. There is so much variety in my role in terms of the type of patients I work with and the training and projects I can do. I find the job challenging at times but it’s also very rewarding.

A few months into my role, I interviewed again for a permanent dietetics assistant role and was then offered to start the dietetic apprenticeship at Teesside University. The apprenticeship route suits me perfectly as I can study but also gain ongoing valuable experience through work. I have full support from my team and they help me with anything I need.


Day-to-day, the role of a dietetics assistant involves supporting the dietitians with their caseload. This can include reviewing non-complex patients, completing education sessions, doing groupwork, making resources for patients, and liaising with other healthcare professionals.

I work in various areas, including inpatient wards, adult community treatment teams and community Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS). I love having this variety as it allows me to see so many different patients and means I can build my skills in different areas.

My job can look quite different day by day. Some days I’ll spend all day on a hospital site seeing patients on the ward. Other days I will run CYPS clinics in the community, I might be out on home visits or I might be working from home putting together resources and planning future sessions. I work closely with the dietitians in my team. It’s really nice to work with other AHPs too, having joint sessions with disciplines like speech and language therapy and occupational therapy can be really beneficial for patients.

It’s lovely to work in a kind and supportive team. I always feel valued and respected and know that my work is appreciated.

I have been a dietetics assistant for two and a half years and have loved getting the chance to grow and learn. I’m also really excited to be starting a dietetic Masters apprenticeship at Coventry University in January 2025. I can’t wait to further my career and fully qualify as a dietitian.