Placements with BSc (Hons) Dietetics

Placement learning is a hugely important part of the experience of training to become a dietitian.

Placement learning is an integral part of the experience of training to become a dietitian.

Placements are of 4, 12 and 12-weeks duration, and occur in Years 1, 2 and 3 respectively. These take place in a variety of settings, with a blend of simulation experiences based at the University, and placements accessed across the South West (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset, Avon, and Wiltshire).
Placement opportunities provide practical experience allowing you to apply theory learnt at university into a variety of different specialist, clinic areas and settings. As follows:
  • Tertiary, primary, and secondary care; this will be based in the following environments
    • acute hospital wards and outpatients
    • GP surgeries/health centres
    • patients’ homes and nursing/residential homes)
  • Virtual and university-based simulations
  • Industry setting such as catering
  • NHSE
Some of the specialist placement areas we currently work with are:
  • Adult and paediatric dietetics
  • Acute and community dietetics
  • Mental health 
  • Oncology
  • Learning fisabilities
  • Weight management
  • Diabetes
  • Leadership
Placements cover a large area across the South West, students are therefore likely to need to relocate to undertake placement learning. Students starting on the programme are provided with information on available placements and learning opportunities and are invited to select their five preferred choices. The placement team will aim to allocate students to one of these placement choices in the second or third year. 
Please note: 
Additional travel / accommodation costs may be incurred during your placement.
If you are an international student, you will need to cover additional placement and travel costs.
Advice on financial support available to UK health care students on placement can be obtained from the NHS Business Services Authority website.

Year 1

4 weeks of placement activities
You will build confidence in communicating with patients and gain an awareness of the diverse role of the dietitian. During the first year we encourage students to undertake an optional placement with our local partners in charities, industry, care homes and public health partnerships. Working within the optional placements has the benefit of providing students with the opportunity to practice, strengthen and develop the communication skills taught within the academic year.

Year 2

12-week placement
During this 12-week placement, students will begin to apply their theoretical knowledge through blended, virtual, and on-site placements and develop the range of skills required to work as a dietitian. Including procedures for the assessment, intervention, and monitoring of clients with a range of non-complex conditions in a variety of settings.

Year 3

12-week placement
This 12-week placement builds on the practical skills and knowledge acquired in placement B with an increasing focus on clients with complex needs. Students become competent in translating theory into practice and in demonstrating the range of skills needed to work as a newly qualified dietitian.

How did our students find their placements?

Tanisha Davies, BSc (Hons) Dietetics & Unibuddy student

I really enjoyed my virtual placement! To kick off the week, we had a session where we were able to communicate with a patient to build up our communication skills. We then had a catering considerations session where we discussed why someone may have a decreased appetite. I then shadowed a Huntington’s Disease clinic, where we learnt about the nutritional needs of this patient group and talked to an occupational therapist about their role as part of a multidisciplinary team. We also had a session with a dementia specialist dietitian and a speech and language therapist, and another where we discussed equality and diversity. As well as the live sessions, there were self-directed sessions, such as an ‘On the Wards’ activity. During this placement, I developed many of the skills needed to be a dietitian and can’t wait to carry on developing my skills with the rest of my placements.

Tanisha Davies, second year student
Virtual Placement 'A'

I did a paediatric B placement with the Dietetic team at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. This provided an amazing opportunity to gain an insight into the varied role of paediatric dietitians within the acute setting. For example, I spent time with the renal team supporting children on dialysis, helped devise tube feeding regimens for children undergoing stem cell transplants and assisted in allergy and cystic fibrosis outpatient clinics. I loved how the supervising dietitians really helped to develop my confidence over the 12 weeks through gradually supporting me to be involved in more stages of the consultations. By the time I reached my consolidation weeks at the end of the placement I felt really prepared to manage my own small caseload and I really enjoyed the opportunity.

Zoe Andrews, third year student
Paediatric placement – Bristol Royal Hospital for Children 
Zoe Andrews BSc (Hons) Dietetics

I really enjoyed working with the Community Dietetic Team at Royal United Hospital, Bath on my B placement. It highlighted the variety of conditions and patient groups that we'll be working with. Through the support of the supervising dietitians, I gained the confidence to take consultations in clinics, deliver patient talks and put into practice the techniques and theory taught in lectures. It was an amazing experience which has prepared me for going into my final placement and my future career as a dietitian.

Lisa Faulconbridge, third year student
Community placement – Royal United Hospital, Bath 

I did a community B placement with the Dietetic Team at Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. I found the community setting really varied and interesting. I enjoyed both outpatient general clinics and home visits for patients with more complex needs. Spending a week following an expert type 1 diabetes programme gave a real insight into the challenges patients face day-to-day, dealing with chronic conditions.

Charlotte Merrill, third year student
Community placement – Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  

I did a paediatric B placement with the Dietetic Team at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children during which I gained insight into multiple areas of paediatrics including neurology, gastroenterology, oncology and renal dietetics. Outpatient clinics included patients with allergies (such as milk, egg, nuts, soya) faltering growth, fussy eating and also learning disabilities including autism and Down's syndrome. I was also lucky enough to shadow specialist areas such as cystic fibrosis and the neonatal intensive care units which was very interesting. I really appreciated how supportive the dietetic team were over the 12-week placement. Their support really helped me to develop my skills and increase my knowledge of paediatric dietetics as a student dietitian.

Cliona Carthy, third year student
Paediatric placement – Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

I've enjoyed a variety of experience on my three clinical placements. All of them were mainly hospital based, offering opportunities to work on a variety of wards and in various outpatient clinics. Additionally, my B and C placements offered opportunities to shadow community dietitians in a number of settings such as home visits, one-to-one clinics and group education. The clinical areas I have experienced include weight management, bariatric surgery, diabetes, paediatrics, renal, cardiovascular, stroke, oncology, gastroenterology, Cystic Fibrosis and ICU. I have really enjoyed putting theory into practice and have learned something from every dietitian I've worked with. The things I have loved most have been the variety of experience I've had on my placements, applying theory to practice and learning something new every day. It's sometimes challenging and tiring but it's never boring!

Maria Widger, third year student
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