To Change or Not to Change: What professional form do we take in the midst of changing expectations?
A recent panel I attended here at the School of Public Health featured speakers from various fields in clinical dietetics. All five were women. They spoke about their typical work days, what was most rewarding about their jobs, and what it was like to work directly with patients to get them the proper nutrition they needed. Their stories were fascinating and immensely diverse, highlighting the plethora of career paths one could choose within clinical nutrition. However, one thing that all five panelists agreed upon was the difficulty faced not only as a dietitian but as a woman working in a hospital setting. Though it is improving, dietetics has not always been well-respected as a vital part of patient treatment. This disregard is exacerbated by the fact that most dietitians are female and many of the prominent doctors in major hospitals are male and adhere to an “old school” viewpoint, as one panelist put it, creating a somewhat patriarchal work environment where female nutrition experts find it difficult to earn the respect and the ears of the doctors.
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