By Anna Julian (@AnnaJulianRD)
Chairperson of the West of Scotland Branch of the BDA
This week is Dietitians week. Five fabulous days of our very own, to flex our AHP muscle and highlight the work and worth of dietitians across the UK.
Dietitians week, as part of the British Dietetic Association’s Trust a Dietitian campaign, aims to promote the role of the dietitian as the only qualified health professionals to assess and treat nutritional issues at the public health level.
As we all know, with AHP power comes great responsibility, and we recognise the benefit of continuing professional development (CPD) both on our day-to-day practice and to ourselves as individuals. With a rapidly changing environment it is fundamental to keep up with the latest research and guidance, appraising evidence and integrating new strategies to keep our clients at the centre. We also recognise the need to maintain our motivation; to meet inspiring people who get us buzzing about our chosen vocation and to learn new facts about food that we never even knew we were missing. We spend 525,600 hours of our lives as health professionals (based on entering the profession at 21 and continuing until the end of our lives. Being an AHP is not just for Christmas) so we need to maintain our passion, keep looking for challenges and setting goals.
So, as we at the West of Scotland branch look forward to celebrating and sharing practice with other branches, groups and individuals around Britain over the next few days, we thought it the perfect time to introduce ourselves.
So who are we?
Established in 1952, the West of Scotland branch of the British Dietetic Association has been helping to quench members’ knowledge for decades, providing a local forum for BDA members to exchange ideas and network. Although the way we communicate has changed significantly over the years, the purpose of the branch remains very similar today.
We aim to:
- Provide opportunities for networking with a variety of members from different disciplines and organisations: We have members practising within all areas of dietetics, across different sites and within all sorts of settings.
- Offer educational updates and discussion forums on clinical/professional issues of general interest. Past meetings have included: Clinical speed-updating – a quick fire update session with speakers on a range of nutritional topics; AHPs as agents of change in health and social care – The National Delivery Plan for the Allied Health Professions in Scotland; Social Media in Professional Practice and ‘Food for thought’ – setting up as a freelance dietitian.
- Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration on local and regional projects.
- Provide two-way communication between the BDA and members within that region.
- Supply links with regional specialist subgroups.
There are 13 branches of the BDA, all of which are run by a committee made up of at least three core members; Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. Our branch also includes a PR officer, Meetings organiser, Ordinary member and Student member making us seven in total. At present, we are six dietitians working across Glasgow and Lanarkshire, plus a student member from Glasgow Caledonian University. Taking on a committee position is a fantastic HCPC-friendly CPD opportunity, with the chance to develop leadership, organisation and communication skills, in addition to influencing the direction of the branch (and the odd free lunch and trip down to HQ in Birmingham).
How do we achieve our aims?
The branch hosts four meetings per year, presenting a mix of clinical and professional topics in a variety of formats. In addition we fund an annual student prize to promote academic excellence and support members involved in research. In 2013 we also supported members from the Glasgow and Clyde Weight Management service to present at the ECO conference in Liverpool.
Our biggest project is the annual study day, which takes up the majority of our time and creativity. Last year we teamed up with the BDA East of Scotland branch and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scottish Special Interest Group for a day of dysphagia management in Stirling. Held on a Saturday and midway between East and West territory, we tried to make it as easy as possible for our members to attend. The day was a brilliant opportunity to meet our AHP colleagues, share in lively discussion and listen to excellent speakers.
We are really keen that the branch is not just a CPD opportunity, but a chance to meet like-minded AHPs, motivate and stimulate. Through the branch we can raise the profile of local AHP activity and show the public, other health professionals and the government why they should #TrustADietitian.
Join us for Dietitians Week and our next meeting; Wednesday the 11th June 6-8pm with Rin Cobb (@pndconsulting), Sports Performance Dietitian and our annual AGM – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/playing-with-your-food-sports-dietetics-with-rin-cobb-tickets-10037184489 Plus, listen out for details of our next study day in Perth on November 1st 2014 (Save the date!). Organised jointly with the East of Scotland branch, ‘Showcasing the skills of the dietitian’ hopes to demonstrate our extended role with speakers from the worlds of media, academia and clinical dietetics.
Log on to http://www.trustadietitian.co.uk/dietitians-week/Events/ to keep up with all the events of dietitians week and join the twitter chat at #RDUK
Get involved! We would love to collaborate with other AHP groups in the future. If you are interested in linking up for an event please contact Anna Julian, branch chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.