Some of the biggest questions I had when I was a student were- how do I know if a certain career path is right for me? AND how do I know what opportunities are available to dietitians?
If this sounds like you, make sure to read on... One of my biggest goals with this page is to help future dietitians gain exposure to some of the unique and amazing opportunities available to them. So, to start off with our awesome RD Spotlight, I'd love to introduce you to Colleen Miller!
Where do you work? I think I've been lucky enough to bring together a couple of part-time opportunities that combined have allowed me to explore a few areas of dietetics, which I really love. I currently teach nutrition to college-level students, work in a leadership role at Sunnybrook Health Sciences and have a private practice where I support clients with gut health issues, virtually these days - pre-covid times in offices in Toronto and Stouffville, ON.
What was your path to get there? It's been a winding path indeed, but my private practice portion is probably the most direct of my different work areas. I finished a contract position in a hospital years ago and had the desire to support clients living with digestive health issues such as inflammatory bowel disease. There had to be something better than send them home, wait for another flare, get admitted to the hospital again and get referred to an inpatient clinical dietitian for support. There didn't seem to be much support for these patients once discharged from the hospital, and I thought I could help fill that gap!
What do you love about your job? How much my clients appreciate the role of nutrition in their health. It's so rewarding to work with extremely motivated people, see a value in the service I offer and believe it's integral to their health.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
It's a lot different than working on an interprofessional team. I quite often refer clients out to other disciplines or collaborate via fax/email with their gastroenterologists, but it's not the same as a conversation at a nursing station or during rounds that happen in acute care.
What's one piece of advice for students who want to pursue a similar career? Be prepared to pivot a lot along the way. I've changed how I do things up a lot over the years and know I will continue to make changes. If you like change and self-discovery, private practice is for you!