A dietician from the South West Yorkshire Mental Health trust is currently appearing on the nation’s TV screens as part of a national NHS careers campaign. The NHS careers campaign was launched this week with a photo shoot of staff from across the country representing the A-Z of NHS careers. West Yorkshire was asked to represent ‘D’ and Dietician Annette Cockfield, from Priestley Unit, Dewsbury Hospital was pleased to volunteer.
Annette posed holding a big ‘D’, with the tools of her trade (a calculator in Annette’s case) and with Health Minister John Dutton at the photo shoot, which was held in London. "I really enjoyed the day, campaigns like this are very important, especially for professions like dietetics. There’s a shortage of dieticians at the moment so it’s great to receive recognition and promote the career. It’s also interesting to see all the other professions that exist in the NHS from ambulance drivers to zoologists," says Annette.
Annette works as a senior dietician for the Priestley clinical nutrition team at South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust and her job involves working with people with a wide range of mental health problems.
"Patients’ mood can affect their food intake so if someone is feeling low that can lead to poor appetite and subsequent weight loss and the symptoms of starvation can lower mood even further. It’s a vicious circle, so it’s important to maintain nutrition when somebody is unwell to aid their recovery," explains Annette.
Working with people that have eating disorders is also a big part of Annette’s job, "This is an area of my work that I most enjoy. It is extremely challenging, but equally the most rewarding. My role is to help reduce the fear of weight gain, develop a regular pattern of eating and to educate."
Annette has worked in the NHS for three years after she completed a degree in Dietetics at Leeds Metropolitan University, "I chose a career in dietetics after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. My nutritional status became poor, and I was referred to a dietician.
"I had never considered a career in dietetics before, but it seemed like a very interesting and rewarding profession. There are good job opportunities also. In one way, I am glad that dietician came to see me that day!"