25 July 2016
Roshni Patel is a band 7 dietitian working across the renal and liver teams. She recently completed an MSc in dietetics while working at the Royal Free Hospital.
"When I left high school I had an interest in nutrition so did a BSc in the subject at the University of Nottingham. However it quickly became clear that I was developing more of an interest in its clinical application which led me to pursue a career in dietetics.
“I realised that I wanted to work in a hospital and ensure that very unwell patients got the best nutritional care possible. This led me to the University of Wales Institute Cardiff where I did a diploma in dietetics, graduating in 2011.
"After I moved back to London and took up my first role at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow before coming to the Royal Free. I started here as a band 5 doing general dietetics and then moved up to become a band 6 renal dietitian where I developed my passion and expertise in the area. While working in renal I was also able to complete an MSc in dietetics. More recently I have been seconded into a band 7 role covering both renal out-patients and liver in-patients and transplant – the first dietitian role to sit across these two clinical areas.
“As a renal dietitian you work with patients who are both acutely and chronically unwell; they might have acute kidney injury or be on long-term dialysis. Generally as a dietitian you are trying to minimise the negative effects that diet could be having on a patient’s health. For instance if a patient has chronic kidney disease they would have specific dietary needs in terms of restricting certain minerals, such as potassium phosphate, and monitoring salt intake.
“With acutely unwell patients on the wards, we work to make sure their individual nutritional requirements are met to help them get better as soon as possible. Good nutrition helps things such as wound healing and maintenance of muscle strength.
“Working across two large, busy teams like liver and renal can be challenging as you’re trying to prioritise patients according to urgency. It can be difficult sometimes because everyone wants equal amounts of your time.
“Both specialities are great areas to work in as a dietitian because the nature of their conditions means you are able to follow patients for quite a long time. You follow and support patients throughout their journey; be it on the ward, in clinic or on a dialysis unit, so you develop strong relationships.
“Being able to help patients even if it’s just in a small way is a great feeling; especially if they are very unwell.
“I feel very fortunate to be working in a large teaching hospital like the Royal Free. It’s given me the chance to work in two very interesting areas of dietetics. I have been able to progress quickly and take up education and leadership opportunities. ”