Meet the Dietitian: Janke Draper

We caught up with Janke Draper, who serves on the ADSA Executive Committee in the Membership portfolio for the term 2021 – 2023. We met up with her to get to know her a bit better!

Tell us a bit more of yourself?

I am a wife of the best husband in the world and a mother of three lovely boys. My favourite place to be is at home and I like to spend time outside with my family.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I am not exactly sure about how exactly I decided to become a dietitian, it always feels as if the profession chooses me…and not the other “expected” way around.

What would you have wanted to do if not Dietetics?

When I was a little girl I wanted to become a teacher. But now since I have my own children I think it is better that I did not become a teacher, even though I do teach patients on a daily basis, so it is a win-win!

Where did you study (degree and/ or postgrad)

I completed my B.Sc. Dietetics degree at the University of the Free State and then I obtained my Master’s degree in dietetics also at the UFS.

Where do you work and what does your job entail?

I am a proud public servant. I am the sole dietitian at a TB Specialist Hospital in the province of the rising sun in a small town, Standerton and I also act as the food service manager.

Walk us through a day in your life?

Loads of administration, ward rounds, kitchen visits, training at clinics and lots of meetings. I used to travel a lot, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, we travel less and attend more online meetings and training. And then of course, when I get home after work, my “real” work starts (the job to keep three little busy boys alive).

What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?

The best part of my work is when I get the opportunity to teach and interact with patients. And the most satisfying moments are when we notice some positive change.

What has been your career highlight?

I think over the period of nine years there have been many significant highlights, but a personal highlight was when I was nominated and selected as one of the top three public service dietitians in Mpumalanga Province in 2018.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

The world of dietetics is unlimited and the research is forever changing, so for me the biggest challenge is to stay up to date with the newest findings in as many nutrition aspects as possible.

What is something that people don’t know about you?

I am a cat lover and I dream of adopting my own Maine Coon cat one day.

What are your favourite foods?

I like a big variety of foods, but I can’t resist a good pasta, soup in the winter, salad and fruit in the summer and chocolate.

What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?

  • Are carbs bad for you?
  • What do you do in a hospital?
  • What is the best weight loss trick?