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Northern careers: What matters to our dietitians


Group of dietitians gather around a table for a meal.
A few dietitians from across Northern BC gathered in Smithers for a ski weekend.

This year, March 20th is Dietitians Day! In this story, we share a bit about the group of dietitians who work in Northern Health (NH) and what they enjoy about their roles. As a longstanding NH dietitian, it's a story that I am proud to share.

Variety and growth

We dietitians form a small and mighty group, with roles in many practice areas. As you might expect, many dietitians support clients in acute care, long-term care, and outpatient settings. Some specialize in pediatrics, eating disorders, renal care, or diabetes care. Others are generalists, wearing a few hats and seeing a variety of care recipients, which is rewarding too.

Group of five dietitians use Christmas themed props to pose for a photo.
Dietitians enjoy a holiday potluck at the Terrace Health Unit. 

"I love the variety of work I get to do every day," says Courtenay Hopson, Chief Clinical Dietitian at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in Prince George.

Did you know that NH dietitians also have roles outside direct client care? Some work behind the scenes, such as those who support facility food systems (meet Stefanie Finch and Allie Stephens) and those who work in Population and Public Health. Others have brought their training, skills, and experience to nontraditional roles, such as health care quality improvement, primary care team leadership, community service management, community engagement, and … farming (meet Dena).

"Being a dietitian with Northern Health has provided me with a great variety of work, from primary care, to acute care, to long-term care, to being a resource dietitian. It hasn’t been boring!" says Judy April, a dietitian with the Allied Health Resource Team.

Come for a year, stay for 20!

Some of my dietitian colleagues came to NH as new graduates, starting their first professional jobs along with a Northern adventure. Some planned to stay a short while -- "I can do anything for a year!" But many fell in love with the North and stayed much longer, like me -- I came for a one-year term, and now, well, it's almost 20 years later and this is home.

Part of the reason for this is the Northern lifestyle. Compared to many other areas of the province, living here costs less, we spend less time in traffic, and we have easier access to the outdoors. So, there's opportunity for better work-life balance and more time to do the things we love.

"I love the people I work with!"

It's also about being part of a great group of dietitians. "I’m continually impressed by the creativity, talents, and compassion of my dietitian colleagues," says Courtenay.

Group of dietitians and students make funny faces for a group photo.
Dietitians and dietetic students at gathering in Prince George. 

Even though we work in a large region, we're very well connected. I'm proud of our group and how we have come together to support our profession in the North. We organize an annual gathering, we meet virtually every three months, we work on a variety of initiatives, and we support each other where needed. Even if you're a sole charge dietitian, you are never alone.

This hasn't gone unnoticed. Katrina Molendyk, NH Recruiter, says, "The dietitians are a passionate group that demonstrate strong connection and community. You can see it in the way they work well together and care about supporting each other."

Support for students and new grads

This support extends to dietetic students and new grads as well. From a recruitment perspective, Katrina notes that NH dietitians have been open and willing to help, to speak with prospective candidates, and to share their experience, knowledge, and passion.

From a student perspective, NH dietitians are proud to host several UBC dietetic students each year for their practical placements. This means that Northern BC students can train closer to home and that students from all over can sample what the North has to offer.

“The thing I'm most proud of in my career so far is training and mentoring dietetics students and dietitians new to the profession,” says Courtenay. “Many of the amazing dietitians I work alongside today originally came to NH as students and new grads; I am honoured to have been part of their transition to practice.”

Curious about a career as a dietitian with NH?

Eight dietitians pose in I heart RD tshirts.
Dietitians and dietetic students at UHNBC show off their t-shirts on Dietitians Day.

If you’d like to explore dietitian jobs with NH, you can reach out to a recruiter at nhjobs@northernhealth.ca or 1-877-905-1155. They can meet with you, learn about your interests, and share information about jobs that might be a good fit. They can also connect you with a local dietitian to learn more about a specific role, help you with your application, or explore supports for moving to the North.

If you’re interested in learning more about studying to become a dietitian, see the University of British Columbia's webpage for Prospective Students. There are also dietetics programs at universities across Canada.

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