Inspirational Story

Charlotte Lloyd

Who am I? Charlotte Lloyd

What do I do? Diabetes Dietitian working at Airedale General Hospital

Which University did I study Dietetics? Leeds Beckett University

Pronouns: She/her

Why Dietetics?

I had a long-held interest in nutrition and, specifically, dietetics and had previously made enquiries at Leeds Beckett University but the timing had never been quite right. However, I decided life was too short, you only get one chance at life and decided to bite the bullet.

My lightbulb moment came during Human Physiology lectures, which highlighted how incredible the human body is. It was the first time I had stopped to consider this and I still reflect on this frequently.

What was your journey to becoming a Dietitian?

Many decades ago, 3 to be exact, I embarked upon a successful Retail Management Career encompassing numerous blue chip and/high profile companies – M&S, Tesco, BHS, Superdrug, Allders Department Stores and Harvey Nichols, where I did a variety of roles but mostly Store Management.

M&S was the last retail company I worked for, where my most recent role was a secondment as a Business Connector in Salford. This entailed connecting businesses to provide services and support to the 3rd sector and community organisations. I delivered numerous projects and was involved with a variety of food poverty associated programmes working alongside a dietitian and a professor of Public Health on several initiatives, which I thoroughly embraced and enjoyed.

I was hoping that the ‘A’ levels – Maths, Chemistry, Biology & General Studies – I had attained way back in the 1980’s, would be sufficient to get me onto a Dietetics course at University as a mature student but that was not the case! I was told I’d need to do an Access course to prove that I was able to study.

With hindsight, this was absolutely the right thing as I know I would have failed at the first hurdle at University without even knowing how to reference properly! As a result, I went to Tameside College to do an Access course to study Physics, Chemistry and Biology. I applied to 4 Universities and was subsequently successful in obtaining a place at my first choice, Leeds Beckett University, to do the undergraduates BSc Dietetic course. I found the course intense, all-consuming but thoroughly interesting and stimulating, particularly learning about all of the clinical conditions.

Five years later (I had to defer for a year after completing the first due to health reasons), I graduated with a 1st Class Hons degree and the Dean’s Prize for Academic Excellence before embarking on my new career here at Airedale as a Diabetes Dietitian.

I particularly loved learning how, as dietitians, we can make such a difference to people’s health and well-being in so many ways with the knowledge and skills acquired at University

What does your day look like?

I had completed my Clinical Placement at Airedale, which was an excellent experience, and I had high expectations of the role. The diabetes block I completed on clinical placement had been my overwhelming favourite, mainly due to the variety of doing face to face clinics and Structured Education groups. I embarked upon my new career during COVID and, hence, my expectations had to be reset since all of our consultations and group work has been virtual – either on the telephone or video links. This was quite frustrating, initially, but I embraced it and made it work to deliver the best patient experience possible under the circumstances. Currently, we are making the transition back to face to face appointments and group education delivery, which is very exciting and provides me with great job satisfaction.

I am part of a wonderful team and department, which all add to the enjoyment of my role. In addition, I work with the Telemedicine Hub delivering general dietetic consultations to patients in 40 prisons around the UK. I find the variety, diversity and challenges of this aspect of my job both exhilarating and rewarding.

Words to those considering Dietetics as a career

I am so delighted I took a huge leap of faith in myself to pursue my new career. Not for one second have I ever thought ‘what have I done? /why did I do this?’! Well, ok, that might be a little fib – I think I said it a few times during my dissertation!! Otherwise, if you’re thinking of pursuing a career in dietetics, I wholeheartedly recommend it, so, take the plunge and have a go – you won’t be disappointed.


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