Tiffany Nicholson, RD, MSc
LONG TERM CARE, HEALTHY SENIORS AT HOME
for something nutrishus
Tiffany and I first connected over the Dietitians of Canada Brand Initiative. Once I heard her unique background, I thought she would be a great fit for this series. She wears a variety of hats in her numerous roles and travels to northern Canadian communities to support her clients.
Why did you become a RD?
I have always been interested in nutrition and spent over decade in hospitality management. I decided I wanted more in depth knowledge of nutrition and therefore went back to University in my late 20’s to pursue a BSc in human nutritional sciences. I found I really enjoyed research and in 2013 decided to complete a Master’s in human nutritional sciences as well.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I am lucky that I work in a diverse area of dietetics. People joke that it’s easier for me to say what areas I don’t work in. For many years I specialized in geriatric nutrition and I continue to work in long term care. I also have a private business called “Healthy Seniors at Home” which provides home care dietitian services to the Winnipeg area. I am the dietitian for Churchill Manitoba (MB), where I am primarily community/public health but also cover acute and long term care. I travel to Fisher River and Peguis First Nations in Manitoba on a monthly basis, where I cover a lot of renal and dialysis patients. And finally, I have recently agreed to travel to Nunavut for quarterly site visits to see clients in the Kivalliq region.
How would you explain what you do?
I would say in a nutshell that I take raw evidence and practice based scientific facts related to nutrition and dietetics and translate it into nutritional advice relevant for patients and clients, as well as other members of the health care team.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
Well that depends on the week. Typically on a regular day to one of my sites, I would come into the office, check messages, emails. Meet briefly with the dietary department, as well as doctors, nurses and managers. Plan my day by nutritional assessments I need to complete, consults that have been referred to me and any follow ups from previous site visits. If I were in one of my personal care homes, I would observe meal times to look for any concerns with residents. If it was a private practice client day I would look over my client list, research any background information I had and prepare handouts, and info that may be relevant to the client. My days sometimes include education on various topics, audits, interviewing, meetings and care conferences, menu planning and a lot of administrative work.
What has been your career path?
I wanted to specialize in diabetes when I first started out as a dietitian and I still enjoy working in the area. I took a small, part time position in long term care while I was completing my Master's and really enjoyed it. I am also very interested in dysphagia management and I still work with a lot of residents with various chronic diseases. I am a member of the College of Manitoba’s Long term care advisory committee.
My career has taken my all over Manitoba, I love working in Churchill and I have seen firsthand the issues with food cost and availability in Northern communities. In 2013 my partner and I started a small garlic farming business. In 2015 I was the sole founder and organizer of the Hungry Bear Food Drive, we collected non-perishables and monetary donations in Winnipeg for Churchill MB’s food bank. We have excellent support of local businesses and individuals and managed to raise 1300 lbs of food and over $4000.00. I hope to continue to advocate for food security all across Manitoba and now into Nunavut as well.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
In 2013 I finished my Master’s in Human Nutritional Sciences. I have completed the Dysphagia Management Course through Dietitians of Canada and am currently working towards eligibility to write the Certified Diabetes Educator exam.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Five years from now I would like Dietitians to be the number one go-to source for nutritional advice. I am a strong advocate for having the term “Nutritionist” protected across Canada for individuals solely with our degree and training. I would like to see Dietitians integrated in the interdisciplinary health care team. Finally I would like to see more jobs for Dietitians, especially in primary prevention.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
I would love to have the term “Nutritionist, Clinical Nutritionist, Registered Nutritionist” protected by law in Canada for Dietitians only so there is a standard of practice, ethics and accountability when members of the public choose to seek out nutritional advice.
What would you like people to know about RDs?
That we eat chocolate and drink beer just like everyone else.
What is your favourite meal?
Homemade pizza on garlic naan bread with artichoke hearts, goat cheese, caramelized onions and fresh basil.
More about Tiffany:
Facebook: Healthy Seniors at Home