Meet the contributing dietitian

Hi. My name is Rendani Ratshibvumo. I am currently working as a clinical dietitian in the public sector. My function as a dietitian is predominantly clinical nutrition, 20% community-based nutrition, and 20% foodservice management.

I have been a clinical dietitian for the past 8 plus years. My role in the hospital entails management of medical conditions through the application of the clinically approved medical nutrition therapy approach. It is the responsibility of the hospital to provide nutritionally adequate meals daily to hospitalized patients and therefore the foodservice unit and dietetics work hand in glove. I am currently the supervising dietitian in the foodservice unit.

As a dietitian, I reach community members outside the hospital through community outreach programmes targeted at vulnerable groups, which includes people living with chronic diseases, infants, young children and pregnant women. During outreach, I am able to identify nutritional gaps and come up with strategies to remedy those gaps in conjunction with other stakeholders in the community, such as primary health care nurses, school teacher, social development social workers, and others. These outreach programmes provide an opportunity to practice preventative nutrition strategies.

I’ve acquired my degree in dietetics from MEDUNSA, currently known as Sefako Makgatho Health Science University (now you know my age).

The best part about being a dietitian, despite rehabilitating a child from severe acute malnutrition, and seeing a patient go home after a long hospital stay after identifying the sweet spot where their blood glucose can be controlled, is that the field of dietetics is revolving faster than the speed of light. I have a duty to provide the best evidence-based approach to my patients and anyone who might trust me enough to ask dietetics related questions, thus I am continuously learning. Readership is at the heart of being a dietitian.

My best achievement thus far was being part of the protocol review committee in Limpopo 2018, becoming a mother and baby-friendly national assessor, and heading the dietetics department in my institution from 2018. I am currently in the process of editing my first cookbook.

My day as a dietitian starts at 4 am – that’s my time to read up on new articles, news, books on self-development, social sciences and have my breakfast. Work starts at 07h30, with reviewing of patients to be fed for the day and adjustment to be made on the menu with the food service manager. Ward rounds start at 09h00 until 11h00, then I assist outpatients until lunchtime. For the rest of the day I do administrative work and attend to calls from the wards. Officially as a dietitian my day ends at 16h30. Depending on the day I might go to clinics, schools, or ECD.
After work I exercise for 30-60 minutes, currently, I exercise at home due to the COVID 19 restrictions. After the gym, I get to spend time with my family before I can get my beauty rest.

My favourite foods are indigenous vegetables and meat (I’ve yet to meet meat that I didn’t eat)!
The most challenging aspect of my career is the fact that access to food is a basic right but when people are living in poverty, unemployment, and inequality even the best innovative approach can be fruitless without access to food.
One thing that people don’t know about me is that I do not like broccoli.

If I was not a dietitian, I would be a food scientist. Nutrients excited me ever since high school.

Three things that people must stop saying when they meet a dietitian:

  1. What can I do to get a flat stomach?
  2. I am healthy nowadays, I don’t even use normal salt anymore, I use the pink one.
  3. I don’t eat that much so I don’t understand why I am overweight.
    That’s just a little bit about me.