Inspirational Story

Ruth Boocock

Name: Ruth Boocock

Role: Senior Lecturer in Dietetics, Teesside University

Pronouns: She/Her

What has been your education and career journey?

At GCSE, I kept my subject choices broad as I was unsure what I wanted to do in the future. By the time I got to choosing A-levels, I had decided on dietetics and my choices reflected entry requirements for university undergraduate programmes.

I completed a 4 year undergraduate BSc (Hons) Nutrition with eligibility for HCPC registration (Dietetics) in 1994 and took up my first post at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. This entry level post enabled me to experience a variety of clinical areas.

At the end of 1995, I moved into a Research Dietitian post at the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. Here I was based within a research team exploring the use of low fat diets to reduce cardiovascular risk.

In 1998, I returned to clinical dietetics specialising in diabetes and for the next 20 years worked at Hospitals in London, Belfast and Bradford.

I started my current AHP role in 2019.


What influenced your choice of profession?

From an early age, I enjoyed cooking and studying home economics. I quickly decided against catering.

Dietetics enabled me to utilise my sciences / mathematical brain.


What were your thoughts before and after starting your role?

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) workforce and development programme, funded by Health Education England (HEE), is currently reviewing ways to support and develop the dietetic workforce. For me, being able to move to different posts during my career has helped to keep me learning and developing.

Moving from clinical practice to higher education proved to be a steep learning curve. Despite meeting the personal specification for the post, hands-on experience and academic mentorship proved invaluable to becoming established in this role.

As a dietitian, care, compassion and communication are at the heart of much of what we do. These skills transfer into my university role and I continue to thrive working alongside our learners

What do you love about your role?

Being part of the academic procession at our recent graduations and seeing my recent cohorts graduate was a very special moment for me as inaugural course leader of the MSc Dietetics programme.

As a dietitian, care, compassion and communication are at the heart of much of what we do. These skills transfer into my university role and I continue to thrive working alongside our learners.

This role is keeping me motivated by providing new opportunities within wider AHP workstreams.


What does your role look like day to day?

Day to day, my role includes many different activities and tasks. No two days are the same and I wear a number of hats.

As course leader organisational and administrative tasks come my way.

As module leader, timetables, assessments, learning materials and so on, are reviewed and updated regularly. Pastorally, I meet with and support my tutees.

I am also currently working towards the ‘Doctor of Professional Practice’ award so use study time to undertake research. Additionally, I hold various roles within the BDA.


How you came to be in the position you are in now?

By using my initiative and looking for CPD opportunities, including a MSc in Education and teaching hours at my local university. A teaching qualification was one of the few desirable boxes on dietetics job specifications I was, at the time, unable to tick.

Recognising that my dietetic knowledge, skills, values and behaviours are transferable and can be effectively deployed outside the NHS was also key to having the confidence to go for this position. As too were supportive managers along this journey.