Inspirational Story

Vanessa Maynard

Who am I? Vanessa Maynard

What do I do? Dietitian

What is my current role? Dietitian in Adult Learning Disabilities – Kirklees and Calderdale

What is my experience? I have been a qualified dietitian for over 25 years working in hospital, community, weight management, learning disabilities

What did you study prior to training to be a Dietitian?

I completed four ‘A’ levels in Biology, Chemistry, History and General Studies at high school in Leeds. I studied at University of North London for 4 years Bsc (Hons) Nutrition with Biology (Dietetics)


What influenced your choice of profession?  

I was always interested in working in healthcare and my initial interest was to be a nurse/midwife.

My school had a NHS Careers day and gave out a pack of AHP information sheets which included one about being a Dietitian and the qualifications needed. This is what sparked my interest in training to become a Dietitian.


What were your thoughts before and after becoming a Dietitian?  

Before studying – At the time I didn’t know anyone that was a dietitian and what the role of the dietitian was.

After qualifying I wanted to work in community but at the time, I knew I would have to gain experience on hospital wards/clinics. This has now changed after qualifying, dietitians can work straight away in community settings as a Band 5.


Were you aware of other health professional courses before choosing your choice of career?

Yes – Physiotherapist, Pharmacist, Nurse and Midwife but Dietetics was the right choice for me.


Any lightbulb moments experienced during your course/whilst working?  

The career of a dietitian can be very varied.

I have worked in many different places both small and large towns/cities over the years as a dietitian. I have also used my skills in my personal life delivering dietary presentations to improve people’s health

My one key bit of advice to those thinking about studying to be a Dietitian? Be willing to try new things, think outside the box! Dietetics provides many transferable skills and the opportunity to work collaboratively

What does your current role looks like day to day?

Currently I work in Adult Learning disabilities in 2 community teams in West Yorkshire. The teams are multidisciplinary (working with other AHP, medics, nurses). Learning disabilities clients are referred to me regarding their dietary needs. I assess client’s dietary requirements, I work with carers/staff/family that work/support the client.

During the COVID-19 pandemic how dietetics operate has changed we are using more virtual means of communications such as zoom, MS teams, telephone which has given more flexibility to the working day.


How did you come to become in the position you are in now? What has your career journey looked like?

For the first 8-9 years I worked in hospital roles both short and long term contracts, I moved into a community dietetics role dealing with long term conditions such as coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes. I worked with community organisations and children’s centres.

I have worked in adult learning disabilities over the years and dietetics role has changed where I was more community hospital based to clients moving into their own homes with carer support, supported living accommodation.


Want to know more?

Interested in the role of a Dietitian and want to know more about the role, where Dietitians work and what they do day to day?

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