Five great benefits of locum dietitian work
By Dr Charu Kartik, nutrition and dietetic advisor
Dr Charu Kartik has a doctorate in Clinical Nutrition and has two decades of experience working as a specialist registered dietitian in permanent and locum roles in various specialties and countries. She has been registered with Athona since 2014. Here, she shares some benefits of working as a locum dietitian in the UK.
- You are your own boss. It allows you to strike the right work/life balance. It has worked really well for me as Athona came along just at the right time in my life. I have a young son, so I’ve been able to pick and choose the time I work and also spend quality time with my son.
- The flexibility of choosing or switching your specialty. I’ve had the chance to work in multiple acute settings. If I want to work with diabetes, I can. If I want to work with eating disorders and mental health, I can. As a locum, I’ve worked in multiple specialties including gastroenterology and cardiology, which sometimes may not be possible in most specialised permanent roles.
- There’s exciting work and great learning. As you move around between the specialties, you never reach saturation point as far as learning is concerned. Locum work is always exciting as there’s variety in terms of teams and locations, too.
- You can keep up-to-date with latest developments. As you’re exposed to multiple disciplines, you stay up to date across dietetic specialties. For example, I’m able to relate the latest developments in diabetic care to developments in the cardiovascular field. As you move between specialties, you stay up to date with the latest knowledge.
- You can choose what you DON’T want to do. That’s a bonus. If you decide you don’t want to work in a particular specialty, for example paediatrics or oncology, you can choose not to specialise in these areas.
Dr Charu’s top three tips for success as a locum dietitian:
- Hit the ground running. That’s the key. If you’re skilled, knowledgeable and are able to hit the ground running, clients will like you and book you again.
- Be flexible. When you’re a locum, if somebody is away or ill, you may be allotted their clinics if your workload permits. So you have to be ready for that.
- Pick an area you like and that you’re good at. Whatever you do, you should be able to perform and enjoy the work you do.