How is the programme structured for Dietetics (final-year Master of Dietetics)
Final year Master of Dietetics students will complete 5 of the17 placement weeks in the Tairāwhiti region, of which 2 weeks will comprise the public health placement and 3 weeks will contribute towards the clinical placement. As part of the TIPE programme students spend approximately 3 days a week in the dietetic department supervised by the Gisborne Hospital dietitians, approximately one day is spent observing and working with other health professionals, and one day is spent in class/activity time or working on your group community education resource. At the end of the 5 weeks students write a report and reflection, just as all dietetic students do at the end of their public health placements.
Kia ora! My name is Courtney and I was a final year Master of Dietetics student at the University of Otago in 2017
Why did I choose TIPE?
I grew up camping in Gisborne over many summers so I already knew and loved the region and the people here. The locals are so friendly and welcoming and operate at a much more relaxed pace than I'm used to. I had also heard from previous students how amazing the programme was. The biggest drawcard for me though was the opportunity to work in a rural health setting with such apparent health disparities, a low socioeconomic status, and a high proportion of Māori. Having been in Dunedin for the past four years with a much less culturally diverse population, I hadn't really had the opportunity to put my learning in this area into practice. I also felt that experience observing and working with other health professionals would be hugely beneficial for me when working as a dietitian in the future in order to provide a better quality of care and more cohesive message to my patients or clients.
What did I enjoy most about TIPE?
TIPE was an incredible learning experience. Because Gisborne Hospital is comparatively smaller than other New Zealand hospitals, it provides a unique experience in that you are required to be a 'generalist' dietitian. You get to be the inpatient clinical dietitian, outpatient dietitian, community dietitian, foodservice dietitian, and public health dietitian. As a result, I had the opportunity to take on a wide variety of roles while placed here which I really loved. The Gisborne dietitians also give you the opportunity to take care of your own ward, finding cases, determining your own workload, attending MDT meetings, and discussing patients' care with other health professionals. Being immersed in the Māori culture was also amazing, getting to learn so much more te reo Māori, writing my pepeha, and incorporating culture-specific dietary advice such as how to make a healthy boil-up. Everybody I came across didn't mind if you mispronounced Māori words, as long as you gave it your best shot. The programme coordinators really make sure that you enjoy your time in Gisborne. You have activities such as waka ama and wheelchair basketball scheduled into your timetable which are both fun and great learning opportunities.