So you’re almost an RD, now what? This question keeps ringing in my head as I quickly approach the end of my internship and I think to myself, “Where do I go from here?” The typical answer I provide is “Yes, I want to work in a hospital” partially because I think trying to explain that a dietitian can work in more than just a hospital is confusing to the average person. Explaining what dietetics is in general can be a daunting task, but I continue to ask myself, where do I really want to be?
During my undergraduate I kept an open mind about finding my niche in dietetics. During my medical nutrition therapy class I found the information to be fascinating, but a 9-5 clinical shift seemed to put a bitter taste in my mouth. I felt that I didn’t quite fit the mold of a typical “Type A” dietetic student personality. That is when I started to search for other options that still encompass the field of dietetics. As of January 2017, there are almost 100,000 registered dietitians in the United States.(1) Fear not my fellow type B personalities, not all of us can fit into just hospitals and long-term care facilities. Even for those that are already RD’s who seek exploration, there are several opportunities for you to combine the science of dietetics with your other passions.
Take for example, Today’s Dietitian wrote a few articles about RD’s who have taken non-traditional paths; including becoming a food stylist/food photographer, online telehealth dietitian, farmer, and even mixing the art of theatre with nutrition education to create a production called FoodPlay! (2) (3) As I continued my search of other potential dietitian jobs I found lactation consultant, grocery store dietitian, sports team dietitian, corporate wellness dietitian, overseas dietitian working through WIC or the military, and I even talked to an RD who works for NASA (Yes… SPACE FOOD!) the list seems endless. Finding this information encouraged me to explore the social media realm of being an RD; leading me to reach out to The Sarcastic Nutritionist and have them take me under their wing as an intern and teach me the ropes of being an online dietetic personality.
What I have learned is this: we need “Type A” dietitians in this world, but we also need to encourage our “Type B” dietitians that they can still be RD’s while integrating other passions for health and nutrition. So for those of you that aren’t thrilled with the clinical setting, or just want to explore your creative side with other opportunities, the field of dietetics is waiting for more visionaries for the future!
Written by: Haley Gostanian, California State University, Fresno Dietetic Intern