Amanda Hamel, RD
NUTON NUTRITION EDUCATOR & A NUTRITION TOUR LEADER
for something nutrishus
Update: Amanda's career continues to evolve and she reached out to share the new position she has, and obviously how that impacts her day-to-day. See below for what has changed since her interview was originally posted in March 2017.
Intuition brought Amanda to the field of dietetics and she now works with clients of all kinds and in a variety of settings including right in the grocery store. She is getting into the world of private practice, which more and more dietitians seem to be doing - hopefully it will help with the access that she mentions below.
Why did you become a RD?
Have you ever had that ‘fish-out-of-water’ feeling? Imagine the feeling of being in a room full of people, and all the lights are off except for one hot, glaring spotlight that’s pointed straight down on you. That was me in my first semester of Pharmacy. I remember so clearly being in a packed classroom, with many of whom were close friends, yet I felt like I simply did not belong. It was a crushing, almost out-of-body experience, and I knew in that moment that something wasn’t right. I couldn’t tell you why or what, but my gut (always trust your gut!) was telling me that I needed to be somewhere else.
That ‘somewhere else’ was in the field of nutrition and dietetics! I always had a keen interest in health, wellness and disease-prevention, so I took a risk, made the switch, and have never looked back. Side note: I recently cleaned out my old notes from high school and found a career report I did in Grade 10 on none other than ‘The Dietitian’! It was a sign.
What area of dietetics do you work in? (*updated April 16, 2018)
Like many dietitians I know, I wear many ‘hats’. I recently secured a full-time nutrition educator position with the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba as part of their Nüton team of Registered Dietitians. Prior to that, I worked in an outpatient hemodialysis and chronic kidney disease clinic and once per month, I traveled to a rural northern reserve, where I practiced in LTC (long term care) at their beautiful PCH (personal care home). I also have a contract position as a Nutrition Tour Leader with Save-On-Foods grocery stores. I am also dabbling in private practice on the side, just to shake things up a bit. I love that all of my current jobs cover different aspects of the nutrition continuum, enabling me to maintain and learn new skills!
I have also taken on the role of Dietitians of Canada's Executive Board representing the Manitoba and Saskatchewan area. I look forward to learning more about what it means to make decisions at the executive level and to help move the dietetic profession forward.
How would you explain what you do?
Because I work in many different areas, my ‘go-to’ statement is, “I help people of all ages make healthy and balanced food choices”.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? (*updated April 16, 2018)
As a nutrition educator, my primary role is to promote eating well in Manitoba through leadership in nutrition education. I develop and present nutrition education programs and materials for teachers and early childhood educators throughout the province. I also collaborate with educators, policy makers and others on projects to help improve the health of all Canadians.
What has been your career path? (*updated April 16, 2018)
Another risk I took was moving far north, away from my friends and family, straight out of internship for a full-time, permanent position. I lived and worked for over two years in northern Manitoba in LTC clinical nutrition and menu planning for the regional food service system. I learned a lot and quickly embraced the small community feel. To rejoin the fam, I moved back to Winnipeg to continue working in a number of term positions in LTC. Fast-forward to today, and I have a full-time nutrition educator role, along with my contract positions.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
Since LTC nutrition is near and dear to my heart, I have special training in dementia care called P.I.E.C.E.S training.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
Like many dietitians, I dream of walking down the city streets and seeing stand-alone dietitian offices. I hope that people can have improved access to our services. I’d also like to see a greater focus on mental health promotion, as I think it greatly affects many people’s overall health and nutrition outcomes.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
I love meeting new people and learning about their own food traditions and cuisines. While I am passionate about helping people make healthy and balanced food choices right in the grocery aisle, I believe there is so much to be learned from others. It’s one of the many reasons why I love being a dietitian!
What is your favourite meal?
Shakshuka. It’s fun to say and fun to make! You can throw in leftover items from your fridge for a quick and healthy meal.
Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable:
Stay positive and open-minded, as you never know where it may take you one day!
More about Amanda: