Inspirational Story

Henna Khan

Name: Henna Khan

Role: Dietetic Associate Practitioner in the Adult community Learning Disability team

What is your role and prior experience?

I have been working as a Dietetic Associate Practitioner for just over a year but previously I have worked as a health coach for weight management/healthy lifestyles in the community and a Healthcare assistant based in a hospital setting.


Why Dietetics?

I have always had an interest in nutrition, more specifically in Dietetics. I had made enquiries initially at Leeds Beckett University and Sheffield Hallam University to study this however the timing had never been quite right. The Dietetics course was full at the time so I went onto study Public Health Nutrition with hopes of doing a Masters in Dietetics.


What was your journey to becoming a Dietetic Associate Practitioner?

My first ever Job was in retail. I was studying my A levels in Sociology, Health and Social care and Business studies alongside my retail job. Once I completed my A levels I got onto studying Public Health Nutrition (as I didn’t get the offer for Dietetics) at Sheffield Hallam University.

Whilst I was studying at University I got a job as a Healthcare Assistant in an outpatient department. I learnt many skills in this job. Working in a clinical setting helped me realise that Dietetics was something I did really want to do and working in clinical environments is something I really enjoyed.


What happened next?

After graduating I continued to work as a Healthcare Assistant and applied to do a Masters in Dietetics. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right again, and the Dietetic Masters course was full.

I was offered an alternative and went on to study Nutrition in Practice. Alongside this I got a job working as a health coach in the community and left the Healthcare assistant role.

My role as a health coach was varied and interesting. I would promote leading a healthy lifestyle to the public and facilitate weight management sessions. I would also perform Health checks (B.P monitoring, Diabetes checks, height, and weight) and give out stop smoking advice. I really enjoyed this role but yet again I was still passionate to wanting more and working in Dietetics.


What led you to your current role?

I completed my Masters course and continued working as a Health coach until I saw an opportunity come up as a Dietetic Associate Practitioner.

This was a fairly new post, and I didn’t know much about it. I had heard of a Dietetic Assistant but not an Associate practitioner.

As I read up about the role it was something I instantly applied for and wanted to do. This time round it was the right timing and I was fortunate to be accepted for the job!

Working as a Dietetic Associate Practitioner was the right decision for me. It involves thinking outside the box and working collaboratively

What does your current role look like day to day?

Currently I work in Adult Learning disabilities in the community. When I started this role is was amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a lot of the work I did was on a virtual platform.

Getting to know the full team virtually was difficult at the start however finding new ways of working has been a way forward. More use of IT and video call meetings has allowed us to be more flexible in our working day. Adapting our resources for our service users and finding a way to deliver things effectively has been a challenge but something we have managed to overcome.

I work in a multidisciplinary team with other allied health professionals, medics and nurses. My role as a Dietetic Associate Practitioner involves me having my own caseload of patients.

The service users on my caseload are varied with some requiring nutrition support, weight management or enteral feeding.

I work with the service users and their carers/families to support them in their dietary needs on an individual basis. Weighing service users using specialised scales, delivering weight management sessions, and discussing a plan of action with the Dietitians is all part of my role.


What are your plans for the future?

I plan to continue working as a Dietetic Associate Practitioner in the Community Learning Disability team and to continue to further my knowledge and skills and specialise in learning disabilities.

There are some opportunities which maybe arise in the near future which may allow me to complete a degree/Masters in Dietetics through an apprentice route and work whilst I study.


Any final thoughts?

Working as a Dietetic Associate Practitioner was the right decision for me. It involves thinking outside the box and working collaboratively. It has allowed me to see how Dietitians can actually make such a difference to people’s health and well-being in so many ways.

I will continue to progress and work hard towards reaching my ultimate goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian.