The following profiles are of dietitians who are members of Dietitians New Zealand.
Louise Fangupo | Clinical Dietitian at Oamaru Hospital (16 hours per week) | November 2017
What does your current role involve?
Mostly running an outpatient clinic, although I also see patients in the single Oamaru Hospital ward as required, and I liaise with the foodservice regularly too.
What makes your role unique?
I am the only dietitian at Oamaru Hospital, so I need broad nutrition knowledge in order to be able to help people at different life stages. In one day in clinic, I can see a wide range of people all with different nutritional needs – everything from a toddler with food allergies, to a frail older person who needs to gain weight.
What is your background?
I grew up in Oamaru and studied at Otago, finishing my PG Dip Diet in mid-2008. I then spent two years working as a Clinical Dietitian at Hawkes Bay Hospital, which I loved. I came back to Oamaru in 2010 and spent some time working in sport and recreation before my current job became available. As it is only part-time, I juggle it with various other things – I have an interest in research, so I completed my MSc in the Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS (BLISS) study last year, and am now doing some data collection for the Kids BMI Study. I also have two young children of my own (aged four and one) who keep me on my toes.
What do you enjoy most about being a dietitian?
The contact with people – patients and colleagues. It’s always a real buzz when you know you have helped someone improve their life through food. I also love that there is always something to learn about – you will never know it all when it comes to food and nutrition!
What do you find most challenging about your work?
Being in a rural location without other dietitians close by to bounce ideas off – if I have a particularly challenging patient or someone presents with a condition which I don’t know anything about, I have to quickly do some research or call/email a colleague in another part of the country. In saying that, I usually end up really enjoying those interactions as everyone is so helpful!
What is the best piece of dietetic advice you’ve ever been given?
If you’re unsure, go back to basics – start by seeing if a person is eating regular meals and having at least some items from each food group, and go from there.
What is your top tip for living a healthy lifestyle?
There’s no one ‘right’ way to be healthy – experiment and find out which foods and activities make YOU feel best, both physically and mentally, and build on that.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?
Still something dietitian or nutrition-related, although I’m unsure exactly what. I did really enjoy doing my MSc so who knows, I may tackle a PhD at some point…..
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