BDA Professional Achievement recipient: Lisa Cooke

20 Mar 2024
Lisa Cooke

Lisa Cooke is the Head of Paediatric Dietetics, Nutrition and SaLT at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust. 

She has received the Professional Achievement honour in recognition of outstanding personal commitment and exceptional contributions to the profession of dietetics.

We asked Lisa about what it means to her to receive this honour.

What does it mean to you to receive the Professional Achievement honour?

I am very proud and honoured to have been awarded this honour and very grateful to the people who nominated me, as it is no mean feat to complete the form, so I really appreciate the time and effort and the fact that people value the work I have completed to warrant giving up their time effort and input.

What drove you to become a dietitian in the first place and be where you are today?

I spent my year 10 (4th year seniors in my day!) work experience at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Bristol Royal Hospital for children with the dietitians. I didn’t know what dietetics was and the school careers officer had waved a BDA leaflet in front of me, and I thought I quite fancy that! I absolutely loved my placement and decided a career in dietetics was for me (instead of a vet, which was what I had been planning on).

Who inspires you? 

There are far too many fantastic dietitians to mention that inspire me! I am so lucky to work with so many in my department, locally in Bristol and regionally in the southwest.

The fantastic Advanced Professional Practice Master's in Paediatric Dietetics course team, which includes the brilliant BDA events team and Plymouth University academic team and the fantastic paediatric specialist group committee, inspires and motivates me and I am continually in awe of each and every one of them.

We have such an amazing profession full of amazing people, I am always very proud of my profession and the people I work with.

As joint lead AHP in the Women’s and Children’s division, I get to work with the amazing AHPs alongside an incredibly dedicated, medical, nursing and managerial team at BRHC and UHBW. I love working in the hospital and trust and feel privileged that I have been able to work here for so long; it is an amazingly supportive place to work and values the work we all do, whilst supporting everyone’s professional development. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else!

What advice would you give to future dietitians?

Dietetics is the most amazing profession, it is multifaceted and offers such a diverse work life. You can move around the country, travel the world and volunteer, always knowing you are really making a difference to people and their quality of lives.

Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and medicine, and others don’t always understand that - but we do.

The diversity of career opportunities is immense, whether in public health, teaching, industry, freelance or the NHS. New roles are emerging and the opportunity to work as a dietitian with ‘superpowers’ (as one of my colleagues describes it) in advanced practice is now achievable.

A dietitian has a huge catalogue of skills and we must let others see what we are capable of and utilise them.

What has been the highlight to your dietetic career to date?

Oh my goodness, there have been so many - the list is long. I will say that I am currently enjoying the challenge and success of mobilising advanced practice in paediatric dietetics, supporting education in the specialism and looking forward to seeing dietitians graduating with the skills to walk straight into a paediatric post.

Related topics