Dietitian Day in the Life (Clinical)

I’m sure you’re all familiar with “What I Eat in a Day” or “What I Ate Wednesday” type blog posts. Well, I decided to start a similar series of posts called “Dietitian Day in the Life” where I’ll take you along through photos of a day in the life of a dietitian! This will include days at work in clinical or consulting (aka working from home) settings, weekend days where I’m out and about, or days when I’m travelling!

I feel like this will allow me to keep it real with you all, show you how I eat intuitively on different days of my life, and have some fun! You guys ready? For my first Dietitian Day in the Life post, I’m walking you through a typical day at my clinical (hospital) job. I’m not able to snap too many photos at work for confidentiality reasons, but I did my best to show you what a day looks like through my food. Here we go!

Wake Up: 06:30

On this particular day, my alarm went off at 6:30 am. If I plan to exercise before work I’ll set the alarm for 5:45, but this week I wasn’t feeling the early morning workouts. From 6:30-7:30 I shower, get dressed and ready for the work day.

Coffee: 07:30

Around 7:30 I’m ready to go, my work bag is packed, and I jump in my car to start the commute to work – which takes all of 10 minutes including my pit stop for coffee (perks of working in a small town). I grab a coffee at the cutest small-town cafe and continue on to the hospital. Some mornings I do make my own coffee, but I just can’t seem to get it as delicious as this place.

Breakfast: 07:45

By this time, I’m arrived at the hospital. The first thing I do is drop by the diet office where I say hello to the food service staff, sign in for the day and check my mailbox for consults. On this particular morning I only have two, which is fabulous for me because I have a small pile of consults on my desk upstairs that I wasn’t able to get to the day before.

Once I’m up to my office I turn on my computer, open my e-mails and sit down to eat breakfast. If you know me well, you know what I’m having for breakfast most work days – overnight oats! Today I have apple cinnamon overnight oats. I simply used the Made with Local Apple Cinnamon Loaded Oats and added yogurt, water, chia seeds, maple syrup and some peanut butter! Yum. This plus my delicious coffee will keep me going until lunch time.

Work Day Begins 08:00

After my breakfast eaten and my e-mails are checked, it’s time to get down to business. I typically try my best to plan out and prioritize my caseload in this little planner than I keep on my dest at work. I schedule in things like meetings, rounds, lunch etc. and then work around it. More often than not there are things that come up that will require my attention and require me to stray from what’s written in my planner and that’s always okay, but it’s nice to have some structure and a way to keep track of all my patients.

Now, depending on the day of the week my work day will be different. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we book Modified Barium Swallow assessments or “MBS”. Patient’s who have dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) for whatever reason (stroke, dementia, head/neck cancer, etc.) require swallowing assessments so that we can determine which texture of foods they’re able to tolerate. During an MBS, we watch the patients eat and drink a range of different textures and thicknesses of food and beverages that have been mixed with barium, which allows us to see the food being swallowed by X-Ray. It’s actually quite neat.

On Wednesdays, I attend our weekly unit rounds. It is essentially a long meeting where the entire medical team discusses each patient on our unit that week. That starts at 8:30 am and usually ends anywhere from 10:30-11:30 am. Phew!

If we have MBS’s booked or if I have rounds, that typically takes me through the majority of the morning.

Lunch 11:30

Around this time us dietitians round each other up and head down to the cafeteria for lunch. I’m grateful that my colleagues value taking a break from the work day to sit down together and eat a meal each day. I know there are so many people out there working through their lunches or eating a sandwich at their desk so I’m happy to have my fellow dietitians to sit down and eat with during the work day.

I always pack my lunch the evening before, and if you can’t tell from this photo I was absolutely feeling lazy (or low on groceries) this week. Today I’m eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich with sliced carrots and celery and baba ghanoush for dipping. And water. Lot’s of water. It gets so dry in the hospital sometimes!

Back to Work 12:30

After lunch, it’s back to work for the rest of the day. If I didn’t get to them in the morning due to rounds or swallowing assessments, I’ll address the dietitian referrals on my desk. Now on my unit, I get an automatic referral for a nutrition assessment on each patient admitted. So for this particular afternoon, it was all reviewing patient charts, meeting new patients, completing assessments, and charting. If needed, we also do bedside swallowing assessments for dysphagia patients as well – but I didn’t have any this afternoon. My assessments took me right to 4:00 pm, which is the end of my work day. So I tidied up my desk, grabbed my things and locked up my office.

Home to Halifax 16:00

This particular day is a Thursday, and as I’m part time in my clinical position right now I have every other Friday off. That meant it was time for me to head home to Halifax for the weekend! The hospital I work at is in a small town about a 2 hour drive from Halifax, so right now I’m renting a room to stay at for about 4 days a week while I’m working, and I head back to the city just about every weekend to see my boyfriend, family and friends.

For my drive home I packed an apple and some raw cashews. I have to have some source of fat or protein when I have fruit for a snack or else I’ll be hungry again in 15 minutes! The cashews did the trick.

On my drives to and from Antigonish I try to listen to podcasts and lately I’ve been loving the Goal Digger podcast by Jenna Kutcher – so good! She interviews female entrepreneurs and gives lots of her own business and social media tips and tricks for other women with entrepreneurial goals. I’m obsessed!

Home for Dinner 18:00

I arrived at my parents’ house just in time for dinner. My sister had requested a super simple and delicious summer dish – Tomato Basil Pasta. I’ve been meaning to share the recipe for this because it’s a family favourite of ours and it’s super fresh and easy to make. My parents also served up grilled chicken and green beans on the side. Delicious!

Evening Walk 19:00

Now I hadn’t done any form of exercise yet, and if I’m being honest I hadn’t done much movement the prior two days either so I was itching to get moving. It was still quite hot out by 7:00 in the evening so Pat and I opted for a 45-minute walk down on the waterfront. It was a gorgeous night, but silly me forgot to snap a photo. So here’s a photo of the waterfront from another day!

A walk and some fresh air was just what I needed after a pretty non-stop day! I didn’t end up having a snack or really do anything else too exciting that evening, so we’ll end this here. If I did have a bedtime snack, it likely would have been an orange – I’ve been loving oranges as a night snack for pretty much the last year! So good.

I hope you enjoyed my first Dietitian Day in the Life post. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for reading!




  1. Hi Hannah!

    I just wanted to drop by and say how awesome it is to be able to follow up with how you’re doing in your life after MSVU! We took a few courses together during your last year there – it is really cool to see what you have been upto! I work in Alberta as a diet clerk, so I am responsible for making all the changes in the computer system to correspond to diet changes/orders from dietitians (many of those diet orders including thickened beverages). I love getting a peak at the other side!

    Take care!

    • hannahmageerd

      Hi Gillian!

      Thanks so much for your comment! It makes me so happy to hear you enjoy following along. We work so very closely with all of the diet clerks at our hospital – I’m still pretty new to the hospital where I work so they’re always helping me out in one way or another! Best of luck to you in Alberta 🙂

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