Meet the Dietitian: Community service series

If you have accomplished everything you have ever dreamed about… What is the next step?

By Rian Coutts


Story behind why I became a Dietitian.

Life is always full of twists and turns, full of unexpected journeys and becoming a dietitian was probably the most unexpected one for me. The real feeling of why, started when I was first introduced to the hospital and clinic environment when still at University. I studied at the University of Potchefstroom (NWU) and from the start I knew I wanted to make a difference. I always believed that it is the small thing in life that matters and nutrition, in every way is definitely one of the biggest smallest things that matters the most. If you can teach anyone to understand the importance of that, everything will just fall into place. That in extent will always be the main reason why I became a Dietitian, to emphasize the importance of nutrition in all aspects of life, more specifically in children. 

The second part of the journey lead me to a small town in the North West called Wolmaransstad where I’m currently working at the small primary Hospital of Nic Bodenstein.  A big part of my daily duties is the management of Malnutrition, more specifically Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases. You can almost say that this year made me a specialist in the management of SAM cases. It became a big part of me and I am very passionate about it. That being said it is also the biggest challenge. Not all the cases are the same, meaning every paediatric patient seen with SAM is a different case and when the opportunity presents itself you have to use more than your knowledge. But I have been given a lot of opportunities to promote health in all aspects, which is a big part of me as well.

In every situation you have to trust yourself, don’t be afraid. Use everything you have inside and be prepared to take risks when it comes to yourself. First impressions are difficult because, everyone sees situations differently. In the end you have to have a little faith, no one said it was going to be easy, but it is most definitely worth it. What I’ve learned is that every day has a different challenge, a different test will present itself when it is most unexpected. 


A small message of encouragement is…

Don’t worry about where you might end up, it doesn’t matter. You are there to make a difference and that is more important. Take every day as a new day, a new adventure and never forget that a dream is just the starting point of something, not the end.


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