Jonathan Sumner - BSc (Hons) Dietetics student

Jonathan Sumner talks about his experience on the University of Plymouth BSc (Hons) Dietetics course.

Has there ever been a day where you don’t hear a friend talk about food, nutrition, and the dietary management of a certain condition? Knowing the evidence behind them makes people trust you and gives them hope that they can confidently enjoy their relationship with food and enjoy life.

   

One of the most confusing things in this world, which people almost talk about every day (or every meal) is their diet. I wanted to know the evidence-based truth and inform others about nutrition and health. Whether it be a specific food, a nutrient, a medical condition, a supplement, or a trend, dietitians are the best people to go to for the unbiased evidence behind it.

I have learned so much since starting the course, and it has changed me into better version of myself. I can now speak much more confidently in public presentations, speak to others with much more empathy, I am equipped with behaviour change skills, and I now better understand how difficult it can be for people to live with certain medical conditions and how challenging it is for them to follow dietary patterns.

There’s so much to learn in dietetics but the lecturers focus on teaching us the core skills such as communication and behaviour change along with case studies as if it was a real-life situation.

The lecturers are so engaging and friendly. I really love how they share their own personal experiences in their field and also, the support they provide is just over the moon.

It's such a rewarding course knowing you know the truth about all the headlines and conditions, and you feel so proud to support patients in so many different areas!


My first placement was 2 weeks of shadowing in Torbay hospital in Torquay, my main supervisors being a gastroenterology dietitian and an oncology dietitian. My second placement was a 12 week period, separated into 6 weeks of working in eating disorder clinics in Cornwall alongside eating disorder dietitians, and 6 weeks working in Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro working in an acute setting in different wards such as a renal ward, stroke ward, and critical care. I love the diversity of how a dietitian is needed for many different conditions such as gastro, nutrition support, neuro, paediatric, diabetes, oncology, critical care, and more. I have learned so much from my placements and it has improved my confidence and passion for dietetics. 

For me, the most exciting thing about my course is going to wards. My supervisor during my second placement told me that I shouldn’t see myself as a student because in the stroke ward, I knew more about nutrition than anyone else there and they needed me.

If you love nutrition, medicine, and helping people, then dietetics is the course for you. There’s a saying by a previous lecturer in Plymouth, now a consultant dietitian, who works in public health: 

‘If you want nutritional advice about a problem you would see a doctor for…you need a dietitian’. 

 

Realise your potential at Plymouth and change lives through dietetics

Healthy eating, nutrition and lifestyles are becoming key issues in today’s society. By focusing on the impact of food and nutrition on health, you'll use your knowledge and skills to make a difference to people’s lives. By combining theoretical modules with real life clinical placements you’ll gain all the skills you need for your future career.

Study BSc (Hons) Dietetics