Jonathan Sumner, BSc (Hons) Dietetics

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 of that. 
Dietetics lab
Dietetics students in a lab

Studying dietetics at Plymouth

I learnt so much on this course, and it changed me into a better version of myself. I can now speak much more confidently in public presentations and 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 is so much to learn in dietetics – the lecturers at Plymouth focus on teaching 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 the support they provide is just exceptional.  
It is 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.
Being a dietitian is something you will be proud of for the rest of your life. There’s a saying: "If you have a nutritional medical issue that you would go to a doctor for, you need a dietitian."

Placement experience

My first placement was two weeks of shadowing in Torbay hospital, my main supervisors being a gastroenterology dietitian and an oncology dietitian. My second placement was a 12-week period, separated into six weeks of working in eating disorder clinics in Cornwall alongside eating disorder dietitians, and six weeks working in Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro in an acute setting in different wards such as a renal ward, a stroke ward, critical care, and more. 
For me, the most exciting part of the 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. 

I have learnt so much from my placements and it has improved my confidence and passion for dietetics.

Dietetics student Jonathan Sumner in a lab
Dietetics students in a lab

The journey since graduation

After graduating, I started my first year as a preceptorship dietitian in Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset where I had a wide array of experience learning about different specialities ranging from gastro medical and surgical, stroke, neuro, respiratory, and oncology. I am now working in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, hitting my two-year mark as a gastro-specialist dietitian!
In my role, I absolutely love teaching. I have taught doctors, nurses, and students how to manage dietetic problems for people ranging from eating disorders, IBS, IBD, liver conditions, cancer, coeliac disease, diabetes… and the list goes on. 

Nutrition is so personal physically and mentally that I believe dietitians are here to stay and will be needed more than ever in the future.

Plymouth made me a well-rounded dietitian

Dietitians are the champions of evidence-based care for nutrition in the world. One of the great things about being a dietitian is that no one can become one without a degree. 
In a world of confusing nutritional information, knowing that I know the evidence behind the trends, fads, and medical management of certain conditions makes me so proud to be a dietitian.
The lecturers are highly professional, empathetic, and well-known in the dietetics field. Dietetics is a close-knit community and Plymouth provides lots of opportunities to network with other dietitians and student dietitians, which was extremely beneficial. 

If you love nutrition, medicine, and helping people, then dietetics is the course for you.


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. 
food image. Courtesy of Shutterstock