My background is as a dietitian; I trained in Nutrition and Dietetics, and I worked as a locum in the NHS for a year. Then, 31 years ago, I saw a job listing in The Guardian looking for a dietitian to present their range of Gluten Free and Low Protein products to hospital dietitians. The company was Nutricia Dietary Products, and the hospital coverage was spanning the whole of the south of the UK. I thought, “Oh, this sounds interesting!” and I’ve been with Nutricia ever since.
Now I look after 13 hospitals and 2 private hospitals in North West London, advising healthcare professionals on appropriate Nutricia products to use for their patients. Every hospital is different, and each unit manages their patients in their own way, practices vary within units and departments. In addition, we communicate with a variety of healthcare professionals. In my role we must be agile as there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’, which is part of the beauty of my job!
What’s rewarding about my role is knowing that, at the end of the day, I’m making a difference, by providing help and support to patients and their families via healthcare professionals. I may not be able to see the baby, child or parent I’m supporting, but I provide information to the nurses, dietitians and consultants that directly benefits the patient. We make sure healthcare professionals are provided with the most recent information and research to make an informed choice. We want to ensure the infant receives the best nutritional care therefore making a positive impact on their health outcomes, whilst reducing parental anxiety and alleviating stress within the family.
My background as a dietitian is useful in my role, because I’m able to draw on my nutritional knowledge, my understanding of different concepts, different patient groups and their needs. My past experience of being on wards and in outpatient clinics allows me to consider possible pathways and ways of working. Being mindful of practices, empathising with the healthcare professional’s workload and acknowledging the parent’s feelings is important when discussing the best product options. This information is of value too when training and coaching new employees or sharing with the team the challenges healthcare professionals face. My role, at present includes being a coach for 2 regions, which is extremely rewarding, as I learn from my colleagues how they address changes and support their customers.
Nutricia is a caring company, if anything happens in your personal life, we’re very lucky to have great managers who empathise, they listen and will support you, and they help give you the time to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Nutricia have been really supportive when I’ve needed when to care for my parents in law. As a carer, I’ve learnt to listen generously, have more patience and tolerance, and understand the importance of providing simple instructions and choices so my parents in law feel in control.
A wonderful policy Nutricia has is to provide everyone with 2 volunteer days a year. As a core value of being humancentric, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. In the past we have used our days for group activities such as picking up litter or community gardening. During the COVID pandemic, I used my days to volunteer at a vaccination centre. I believe supporting the NHS, is a great way to give back to our communities.
One of the things, I am passionate about and delighted to be involved in, is the Danone Nations Cup. It’s the world’s biggest football tournament for children aged 10-12 years old, and it’s an amazing event that involves around 2 million players from 33 countries worldwide. The tournament enables children to learn from one other, gives them an opportunity to travel and meet people from all over the world. Despite the children speaking different languages, having diverse cultures and faiths they all have mutual respect towards each other with their passion for football. In 2014, I was selected to be the ambassador for UK Danone, when the world final was held in Brazil. It is wonderful to see the mini champions all communicating, smiling, and enjoying themselves together. At the UK finals I have supported the event by keeping the scores and helping with the logistics of a tournament, including providing water, encouraging eating a healthy diet and the value of recycling. At the tournament we reward children who have shown respect, care or empathy towards a member in their team or their opponent with a ‘Fair play’ award. It’s a truly wonderful experience.
Nutricia is recognised as a company that innovates, and that is because we are dedicated to research. In our roles we are passionate about sharing how research has evolved our products to benefit patients, which makes a big difference. The healthcare professionals I talk to, feel that we’re very supportive. We receive emails thanking us for our support, valuing our assistance. They also recognise our commitment to supporting education, through sponsored study events, webinars, or self-development.
We pride ourselves in our products, as they have been developed with the patient in mind and our service that helps make healthcare professionals lives easier through problem solving and managing any emergency requests. A culture of teamwork and support ensures no patient misses a feed, as in paediatrics we believe ‘every feed counts and every drop matters!’.