Category Archives: Social Media for HCP’s

The truth about what dietitians do

Being a dietitian is for me an amazing job, however it is also a very misunderstood job. With the rise of nutrition bloggers, wellness experts and a range of questionable nutrition courses springing up,  I guess the new kid on the block is always the most exciting. 

With it being Dietitians Week this week I thought it was a good time to remember what the heck dietitian’s actually do!

1.  Dietitians are evidenced based and have a legally protected title. So any old Joe Bloggs can’t set themselves up as a dietitian. They have to keep up to date in their specialist areas and do so many hours of continuing professional development every month. This is assessed by the HCPC (Health care professions council) and we can be struck off the register for malpractice. You can check if your dietitian is registered here.

2. It is a minimum of 3 years of training to be a dietitian, this includes biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, research skills and so much more. There are clinical placements where you work in a hospital/dietitian setting to really put things into practise. This means by the time a dietitian is qualified they have already been working and know their stuff. The way this differs to a registered nutritionist (also the good guys, I started out in nutrition myself!) is by the clinical work, the knowledge of disease states. 

3. Yes some dietitians work in hospitals or within the NHS, however many also work in other areas. This could be with the food industry, with councils, with food brands, in the media or in private practice.

4. It’s very much a food first approach and not all about supplements and selling products. You won’t find many dietitians pushing you to buy from them in a clinic setting.  In fact most of us are not that business savvy but are focused on the people/area we work for.

5. People focused is how most dietitians are. It is a very caring profession, a profession who really wants to help others, to get the right information out there and who work hard. All the ones I have met are always a lovely bunch of people who you actually want to spend time with. 

Look out for my post later this week on great dietitians to follow! 



The risk of social media.

Social media for me is essential. It brings me work, it brings me a virtual team and it enables me to stay up to date. I love it for personal and business reasons. It has connected me to a community of other nutrition professionals who I would probably never had met otherwise. I have daily chats with people about the current research, I can ask questions and support others, I can share resources and collaborate with them.

But at the same time social media can be a tough place to be. The nutrition world has become a crazy place. There are people with no training in nutrition publishing books and becoming the got-to for advice. There are highly qualified and respected experts getting caught up in social media wars.  I can completely understand why some people stay away from it altogether. 

Here are some things I am thankful for on social media:

Dietitian’s and registered nutritionists are trained to read the research and interpret it. That may sound simple but there can be many ways to interpret one piece of research. I’m thankful for people who share research, those who give an unbiased view, those who answer questions and help when others need a clearer answer or more research to back up a view. 

A virtual community who are supportive, forward thinking and inspire me. Working as a freelancer I don’t actually see other dietitian’s that often. To all those who are on the cutting edge with popdcasts, videos, infographics – thankyou. 

People who get in contact to just say nice things. Those who notice and say hi, those who comment on a blog post or a recipe. It is appreciated. 

Things that I wish I could change on social media:

The sniping and fighting that goes on. There is not one perfect answer, or one perfect diet. So maybe sometimes we have to agree to disagree.

Promoting of books and money making schemes over the science. It can be all too easy to think that just because someone has a book contract it makes them an expert. There are too many arguments about who is the expert. Personally I would say look at someone’s qualifications. If they are talking about nutrition have they actually studied nutrition? 

Black and white thinking. Social media only provides you with a small number of characters or a snapshot moment to present your point. This can mean that things become black or white, you end up having to take a side. Nutrition is a fairly new science and we are learning so much all of the time, with new research coming out tat is adding to our evidence. Therefore we do not have absolutes, what we do have is a base of science that we build upon. 

If you are a nutrition professional I do think you need to be on social media, sharing accurate messages, supporting your profession and keeping up with the world on there. How we group together and fight these battles that go on is not something I can answer but I do know it needs to be co-ordinated and professional.

Blogging for health care professionals

There are so many amazing HCP’s on twitter who I interact with or see around, but not that many are blogging. From a purely selfish perspective I want them to as I know they have such a wealth of knowledge to share and I want to learn from them and read it!

Why to Blog?

1. It highlights to the public and those looking at your social media presence/website what your areas of expertise are and what type of person you are.

2. To share knowledge with others. The internet is saturated with information. Alot of it is wrong! We need the right information to get out there, the more we share it, the more it will be read and come to light.

3. To increase your SEO and visits to your website. It may not be your number 1 priority but it does help when people start searching for you. It also makes your website look like you love it if you frequently update it. I know if I go to a website that has no new content since 2005 I tend to pass by!

4. It gives you a bank of articles you can reuse for clients or make into longer, more detailed articles for publication.

5. It can be good CPD. If you find a topic you need to do some research on, then it could be part of your work-based learning.


What to Blog?

The world is your oyster as nutriton is such a vast topic. There can almost be too many subject you can cover. I routinely have several blog posts on the go at once. That is sort of how my brain works though! I keep a list on my phone of blog topics, then as an idea comes to me at some odd part of the day, I can just add it in and write the post at a later time. Otherwise when I sit down with the time to write a post I find my brain is empty.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

Think about your specialist areas, what do you spend most of your time doing? These are the areas to utilise in your blog posts. Write them down and from that list draw out 5 topics you can write about.

What questions do clients routinely ask you?

What is currently topical, the latest nutriton trend, fad diet, TV cookery show. Sharing your thoughts as a HCP can be so valuable and can highlight you to the media as the person to go to for a quote.

Top 5 posts: your top 5 favourite…recipes, cookery book, weight loss tips, nutrition apps, easy snacks to make – you get the idea.

What are you cooking in your kitchen at the moment? People LOVE recipes.

Anything you research for work purposes can be turned into a blog.

Share a bit about YOU. The day in a life of style posts etc..

How to set up a blog:

I love WordPress. It is simple and you can have a blog set up in minutes. It is probably the biggest, most used platform out there. There are so many free and good plug-ins you can use with it to add things to your site. There are tonnes of free templates that will instantly make your blog look good and it takes just minutes to use them. 

Your big decision now is: A free blog or a self hosted one which you pay a small amount for. A free blog sounds good and is actually where I started out. You will end up with a blog name that ends in which is not quite as professional.

So mine was 

You are also limited with some functionality, limited to what you can upload and in templates and plug-ins. 

A self-hosted blog is where you buy your domain name (your website name so mine is and you buy your hosting (storage space on a site that hosts your website). You can buy a web domain from £1 a year and buy hosting from £2.50 a month. I use Fasthosts but there are many more around.

When you have made the decision you can either start a free blog by going to WordPress or buy the domain and hosting then there is usually instructions on how to link to WordPress. 

Next you choose your template by going to Appearance and Themes. Add a few images and info about yourself and you are ready to blog! 

Dietitian UK: Blogging for HCP's


From any part of WordPress you can click the + New button in the top black bar, click Post. You will arrive at the blogging page, now write your title and main article. To add images click Add Media and upload them (non copyright images). Then click Publish on the right hand side. If you link your social media accounts, via Publicise, it will post to all of those for you. I recommend you add a few tags in, these are the keywords that are in your blog post and things that people may search for when looking for it. 

There is so much more to share to take your blog to the next level. If you are interested in learning more on blogging and social media then please sign up to be told about future articles and resources.