Inspirational Story

Emma McKee

Name: Emma McKee

Role: Dietitian

Where I work: Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust

Pronouns: She/her

What did you study at school or college? 

In 6th form I studied A-level Health and Social Care, Religious Studies and English Literature.  I then completed A-Level Biology and Chemistry at a further education collage prior to commencing my degree.


What course did you chose to study at University?  

I studied BSc (Hons) Dietetics at Leeds Beckett University 2018-2021.


What influenced your choice of profession?   

My enthusiasm for food and nutrition first resulted in a career as a chef within the hospitality industry.  During my time studying Culinary Arts Management, my knowledge and passion for food grew.

During this time, I felt that my interest in caring for and communicating with people was not being fully satisfied within this profession. Additionally, my mum worked as a children’s nurse and later lectured in children nursing. She always encouraged my interest in food; often spoke about the dietitians she worked with and was the one who first made me aware of the profession.



Looking back, I could not imagine doing anything else!

Did you have any expectations of studying or working as a Dietitian?    

Before starting the course, I was worried that it was going to be very challenging and intense, due to the high admission criteria and science elements of the course. I had done lots of research about the role as I did not really understand exactly what a dietitian did.

As it is a role that is not widely known about, I would recommend checking out the British Dietetics Association (BDA) website as if you want to find out more!

While the course definitely had busy and challenging times, it was worth it and was such an amazing feeling completing my final placement and submitting that final assignment! Looking back, I could not imagine doing anything else.


Were you aware of other health professional courses?

I was aware of many other Allied Health Professional roles while researching dietetics. I considered occupational therapy and was close to applying for it. However, my passion for food and nutrition won over!


Have you had any lightbulb moments experienced during your course or whilst working?  

During placement there was not necessarily one big lightbulb moment when everything clicked. Instead, I found that that it was lots of practice, making mistakes, forgetting things, learning, asking questions and lots of reflection along the way.

The best piece of advice I can give (especially during placements) is to just GIVE IT A GO! This was a challenge for me as my learning style is largely that of a reflector and a theorist.

Throughout my short time working in mental health, I have appreciated how important the small things are for my service users. It’s easy to get caught up in your own agenda when seeing a patient. However, it is realising what’s important to the service user that makes the biggest difference.

It's realising what’s important to the service user that makes the biggest difference

What does your current role looks like day to day?

  •  8am – Arrive in the therapy office I share with Occupational Therapists (OTs), Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists. Make a large cup of coffee, check emails and for any new referrals that may have come through. Look through and prioritise my caseload and who I plan on reviewing today.


  • 9:30am – Attend the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting to catch up and feedback on my caseload and to find out more about any new admissions. This is a chance to speak with the consultant, doctors, psychology, OTs, physios and nursing staff.


  • 11am – Time to go on the wards and start reviewing some service users. This involves looking at nursing notes, food and fluid charts, speaking to nursing staff and then the service user. During the consultation I will discuss things like their appetite, current diet and ways to support them by creating and meeting goals.


  • 12pm – Lunch time. Time to have a break, eat and have a good old catch up with my colleagues.


  • 12:30pm- Back down to the wards, writing up notes, care plans and updating my caseload.


  • 3pm- Time to squeeze in some developmental work. Today I’m planning a short training session to do with the nursing staff next week. Then it’s off home.


 How you come to become in the position you are in now ?

During my final year at university, I had the opportunity to work part time as a dietetic assistant in a low secure forensic service. This was my first experience in a mental health setting and helped me decide where I wanted to go after my degree.

During my final placement, I applied for and got my first Band 5 Dietitian role with a local mental health trust. This is a rotational post in older adults, working age adults and learning disabilities.

I enjoy working as part of a close-knit, smaller team within mental health. I love the extra time I can spend to develop rapport with service users to understand their needs and goals.

Dietetics is absolutely a rewarding and varied career!


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