Our corporate partners celebrating Dietitians Week 2024

06 Jun 2024

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all journey in dietetics, with many of you taking different routes in your career. We’re excited to share some of our BDA Corporate members and commercial partners celebrating and exploring the career journeys of their dietitians.

Wiltshire Farm Foods

As a proud Corporate Member of the BDA we're supporting Dietitians Week, exploring the diverse career of our in-house Dietitians. Watch the below video to find out out about our Development Dietitian, Sophia Cornelius, and Specialist Nutrition Senior Category Executive, Maia Fergus-O'Grady RD dietetic careers.

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Nestle Health Science

Two dietitians from the Nestle Health Science team share their journeys below.

Christina McAfee

Medical Affairs Dietitian at Nestlé Health Science UK

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Dietetics is such a varied profession that can lead us into many different specialisms, different healthcare settings and even different industries.  Registered Dietitian Christina McAfee explains her alternative route in dietetics in the hope to shine a light on the value we can bring to other, less conventional dietetic roles.

I have been a registered dietitian for the past 16 years, having trained at Ulster University in Northern Ireland.  My dietetics career from that point has been varied to say the least and I am so thankful for the various career paths I have been able to explore as result of this fantastically versatile qualification!  When I first qualified I worked in a busy rotational post covering hospital and community, along with other like-minded new graduates. It was a fantastic starting point and I gained such varied, hands-on clinical experience in my short time there. After a couple of years in the clinical environment however, I already felt a little jaded by dietetics, like perhaps I wasn’t making the difference that I wanted to.  On reflection much later in life, I can see that this simply stemmed from the deep routed desire to help people that brought me into the profession in the first place!

I went on to explore the medical nutrition industry, working as an account manager for Abbott Nutrition.  This role allowed me to stay up to date with what was going on in the world of dietetics while also learning a great deal about medical nutrition products and the industry, as well as developing skills in negotiation, stakeholder management, relationship development, all while working primarily on my own and managing my own time.  I also got the opportunity to travel around the UK and meet so many wonderful healthcare professionals.  What an amazing opportunity for a young 20-something dietitian with no sales background! 

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic I made the brave (perhaps crazy) decision to go back into clinical practice and this is where I re-discovered my passion for clinical dietetics, more specifically paediatric dietetics.  The learning curve was steep after 10 years out of clinical work, but it was an exhilarating challenge to be back in that fast-paced, supportive, collaborative environment at a time when healthcare professionals were more important and under more pressure than ever before.  My key takeaway from that career step was that it is never too late to change paths and as dietitians we are genuinely always learning. 

Since then, I have also dabbled in clinical product management with a health plan provider. This was a brilliant role in a not-for-profit organisation where I learnt a great deal about the importance of clinical governance within the tele-health sector.  And that brings me to my current role as a Medical Affairs Dietitian within Nestlé Health Science UK.  I look after the paediatric product range and am involved with educating our sales teams, contributing to product launch plans, working with HCPs on insight gathering to name but a few responsibilities! It’s a truly varied role and it’s fair to say I never get bored.

In summary, I have had such a journey in my career already as a dietitian and while I no longer work directly with patients I still have that passion for the profession, knowing that I can make a real difference to people with the work that I do.  The various roles that I’ve had have simply made me a better dietitian, a better professional, a better communicator, leader, colleague and I am proud to be a dietitian in industry. I would love for anyone reading this to feel empowered in the knowledge that, as dietitians there are so many doors open for us if we wish to explore them!  Our unique expertise and skill set as dietitians can be valuable and transferable across so many roles and industries so no matter what your current role or how you got there, be proud of your profession and everything you do to make a difference. 

Kevin Rafferty

Registered Dietitian and Medical Science Liaison at Nestlé Health Science UK

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As we know, dietetics in the UK is a predominantly patient-facing role consisting of a largely female workforce.  Registered Dietitian and Medical Science Liaison, Kevin Rafferty, gives us an overview of his alternative route in dietetics to highlight some of the different career avenues that are open to us as dietitians and the value we can bring to the medical nutrition industry.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of when I first qualified and registered as a dietitian. I initially worked in the NHS (Bristol, Newport, Cardiff) with my final role there being an Adult Critical Care Dietitian. I then transitioned into academia and worked as a senior lecturer in Nutrition & Dietetics at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

For the last 18 years I’ve been working in the Medical Nutrition industry, both UK-based and internationally in the Netherlands and Germany. I’ve also worked in Freelance nutrition consultancy roles during this time.

My current position at Nestlé Health Science UK is as Medical Science Liaison (MSL). MSL is a fairly well-established position in the Pharmaceutical sector, but a relatively new role within the Medical Nutrition industry. My main day-to-day activities revolve around supporting and collaborating externally with Health Care Professionals and Key Opinion Leaders, including insight gathering. It also involves the delivery of education, not just externally, but also internally such as ongoing training and upskilling of our sales teams and other internal colleagues. It’s a busy and varied role, but ultimately very enjoyable and rewarding and  I value being able to apply my dietetic expertise in a non-clinical capacity.”


Vitaflo's Tricia Rutherford, Head of Research and Development, tells us about her diverse path in dietetics. 

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