Emma & Sarah - Reablement Team Leads
Emma Lightowler, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
I currently manage a team of dietitians, supporting the development of the intermediate care (ICRAS) service. We see patients in their own homes and rehabilitation hubs as well as patients with enteral feeding tubes.
I first completed a BSc in Human Nutrition before completing a PgDip in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Chester, during which I experienced practice placements in both Liverpool and Bolton (acute and community).
I started as a community dietitian in 2018 before moving into an intermediate care specialist dietitian role. In this role I have been able to support in developing the service which is now made up of a number of dietitians. This helped me to gain the experience to become a team lead dietitian.
I love being a dietitian as we are able to make such a different to the quality of life of our patients. My main interest is in home enteral feeding which I find especially rewarding and being in the community we see the full patient journey.
If you have a keen interest in food and healthcare, dietetics is probably for you! We spend most of our day talking to people and building relationships to support and empower our patients.
Nutrition is key in managing long term health conditions and in supporting and recovery from illness.
The best thing about being a dietitian is the feeling that you have really made a difference for the patients.
Sarah Higgins La Placa, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
Why did I choose to become a Dietitian? I love helping people feel better and stronger including recovering from illness.
I first studied a degree in Pharmacology. After, I decided I wanted to be a dietitian but the course was very competitive so I was advised to get some experience. I completed a postgraduate diploma in Public Health and then got a job as a dietetic assistant, first with a community service in Southport, then in the Wirral.
From that role, through a Widening Access and Participation scheme, I was able to complete my PgDip in Dietetics at University of Chester. Since I've qualified I've worked in the community in the Wirral, then Liverpool, and I even went to work in acute hospital in Bermuda for 7 years! I came back 'home' in 2017 to work in Liverpool for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.
I provide nutrition support to patients, including those enterally fed for various reasons such as head and neck cancer, stroke, or neuromuscular disease.
I also support the team with supervision, caseload management and I attend safety meetings on behalf of the service, such as reviewing incidents and what we can do to learn from them.