5 minutes with… A Paediatric Dietician

What made you become a Paediatric Dietician working in neonates?

I was allocated this area of work when I got a permanent job in paediatrics covering gastro and surgery and I cover surgical newborns as part of this remit. I have also done a lot medical neonates in the form of cover due to long term sickness.

What’s the best part of your job?

Watching babies progress and recover from their surgery. See babies with faltering growth achieve catch up growth.

What’s the hardest part of the job?

Dealing with parenteral anxiety, not having clear messages from the doctors. Consultant of the week model makes it hard to get consistent clinical management.

What would you change for parents?

More consistency of care in terms of having a consistent consultant on the ward so parents get clear consistent messages.

What would you change for staff?

More funding for dietitians to allow us to have the right level of input with patients rather than picking them up when they are well below the growth chart.

Your top tip for managing stress?

Take each day as it comes. Have a clear to do list each day that you prioritise regularly.

What would help you manage stress?

Better funding of staff. Clear messages from the lead consultant better documentation from ward rounds and other staff.

Why do you think improving mental health of families and staff is so important?

Because it affects the wellbeing of the child if parents are struggling to cope and compliance of treatment.

Is there any ‘best practice’ you’ve seen elsewhere which you’d love to implement?

No

What would you say to parents (one bit of advice, or one tip?)

Don’t google things and limit time on social media, although useful to seek support from other parents in the same situation it often escalates anxiety and take each day at a time.

What would you say to your younger self?

Don’t expect to be an expert overnight. It takes time to develop confidence and experience.

If you could give some advice to a newly qualified dietician, what would it be?

 Do lots of reading and don’t be afraid to ask questions use your clinical common sense.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen in your role…

Children with short bowel coming off PN.


Facts & Figures

79% of parents said a neonatal stay affected their mental health

Did you know, a ventilator costs on average £25,000

Did you know, reading to your baby in the NICU helps their development?

Leo's Neonatal

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