Healthcare Support Worker

Last updated: 22 April 2021

Dietetic assistant

My story

Joanne Martin

Dietetic Support Worker, Nutrition and Dietetics Department 



What made you become a Dietetic Support Worker? - "I previously worked in Health Promotion in the community and was very interested in healthy eating and nutrition. My current hours are split between supporting the Community Dietitians and the Macmillan Dietitian at QA so this role was a good opportunity to find out about nutrition in a clinical setting"

What do you do on a day to day basis? - "At the hospital I spend a lot of time arranging oral nutritional supplements for patients who are struggling to eat while undergoing cancer treatment, when it is important that they maintain their weight. There are many different products so I order samples for them to try, arrange GP prescriptions and often deliver bags of supplements to them when they are in the hospital for treatment. 

I deal with telephone queries from patients and medical staff and provide admin support such as dealing with referrals, sending letters, and keeping the patient database up-to-date. 

My hours in the Community Team are mostly spent doing telephone reviews with patients who are at risk of malnutrition due to medical conditions, particularly those in nursing homes; checking their weights and food intake and arranging for nutritional supplements if required."

Why did you choose PHU? - "PHU is a huge employer and a busy and interesting environment to work in. There is always something new to learn and lots of opportunity for personal development."

What do you enjoy about being a Dietetic Support Worker? - "It has been so interesting learning about the amazing work the Portsmouth Dietitians do with patients both in the hospital and the community and to feel that the work I do in supporting them makes a real difference to the patients."

Career plans and advice for others - "Working as a Dietetic Support Worker is a great way to learn about nutrition and can be a good stepping stone to a career as a Dietitian."