Freelance ANutr, NHS and Uni of Aberdeen. NHD contributor
I am not a professional nutritionist… Well, I am, but not one currently working in nutrition. In fact, I work part time in health and research engagement, while also doing a full-time PhD in Health Research. I’m really interested in nutrition (especially Public Health nutrition) and have tried hard to keep up my knowledge, as well as evidencing my continuous professional development (CPD) – but let’s not lie, it can be a challenge! So, that’s why my first NHD blog is to share some of my tips for others in a similar position!
1) Check out the Association for Nutrition (AfN) website
I am all for doing the work for something I am interested in, but with limited time available for CPD, I also think it’s useful to know what you need to evidence in order to progress. You can find this all out on the AfN website (www.associationfornutrition.org/). You may also find that some of your non-nutrition-specific work may still contribute as evidence to areas of core competencies. The AfN website is great – it has guidance on evidencing CPD as well as hints and tips on how to prepare for your portfolio. It also has dates of AfN-endorsed CPD events, so you can see if any are in your local area or available online.
2) Social media is an important friend
I am so thankful for our regional AfN Facebook page! The page keeps me up to date with the local events in our region, gives us the opportunity to stay connected to other nutritionists and provides new opportunities to gain skills. Apart from Facebook, Twitter has been very helpful. Lots of nutrition organisations have Twitter accounts these days, from AfN (@AfN_UK), NHD, (@NHDMagazine), Nutrition Society (@NutritionSoc) and British Nutrition Foundation (@BNFEvents), just to name a few. They often post about webinars, articles and more which can help keep your knowledge up to date. There are also tweetchats and tweetfests you can get involved in too!
3) Keeping it flexible
My work and study mean I don’t have as much flexibility to attend events. Some of the conferences and workshops I have seen look amazing but require taking annual leave and self-funding to attend. Sadly, this isn’t always possible with other life commitments! Most of my learning has had to work around my busy schedule, which can change on a weekly basis. One example of this has been writing for NHD, as I can do this at weekends or evenings. I have become a member of the Nutrition Society (www.nutritionsociety.org/), so I have access to more publications, such as journal articles, which I can read at home in my pjs on a Sunday afternoon (yay). Online courses can also be a big help. My New Year’s resolution is to finally apply for the Intuitive Eating and Non-Diet Approaches in Practice training at London Centre for Intuitive Eating (https://londoncentreforintuitiveeating.co.uk/).
These are just some of the things I have found helpful while trying to keep my knowledge up to date and evidence my CPD. These tips may just be the basics and I am sure there are many more. I would love to hear from anyone who wants to share their experience too. You can leave a comment here or find me on Twitter@emjberr.