Name: Johnathan Barry

Course: BSc (Hons) Dietetics

Hometown/Country: Kinsale, Ireland

Year of Course: 4th

Johnathan is from Kinsale, County Cork, and is currently in his final year of Dietetics at QMU. He has always had a keen interest in health and nutrition and the preventative role that diet can play in the management of certain health conditions.

Why QMU?

Why did you choose to study at QMU and what attracted you to the course?

On choosing a university to study dietetics, I attended the QMU open day, and I was very impressed with how modern it was. I liked the small size of the University and how helpful the staff were in providing information surrounding the course. I really liked how everything I needed was within close proximity to campus, and I felt this was very important for my first time living away from home. QMU has an exceptional reputation for healthcare courses, and the dietetics course is very well respected. Also, an added bonus to living on campus was the six-minute train to Edinburgh, which is such a vibrant and beautiful city that felt like a second home for me.

About the course

What have you most enjoyed about your course?

Dietetics has been a challenging but extremely rewarding course to study. I have gained so much knowledge and experience across different health conditions such as cancer, rehabilitation, chronic kidney disease and gastrointestinal conditions. I have just completed my dissertation, which primarily focused on availability, cost and nutritional implications of a low FODMAP diet in irritable bowel syndrome. I have really enjoyed my placement experiences within acute and community settings which allowed me to apply the theoretical knowledge that I learned in class to clinical practice. QMU primarily focuses on interprofessional education and team working in healthcare through interprofessional education modules. Hence, I had a good idea of what it would be like working with other members of the multidisciplinary team such as physiotherapists, nurses and speech and language therapists.

Dietetics can be quite a demanding and intense course, so time-management and prioritisation of your workload are essential. I found that QMU was very supportive with any concerns that I had throughout the duration of the course and my personal academic tutor provided me continuous advice and guidance on all aspects of university life if I felt like I was struggling.

"I think the most valuable lesson that I have learned at university is the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded and positive people who support you."
Johnathan Barry, BSc (Hons) Dietetics

Life as a student at QMU

Have you joined any schemes/initiatives to enhance your learning and development?

I am an active member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), and I have been involved in numerous projects tailored towards public health nutrition. Most recently, I represented the BDA at the Food Matters Live 2019 conference in London, promoting their 'One Blue Dot' campaign, which focused on environmentally sustainable diets. I am currently working on writing an article for 'Dietetics Today' surrounding this project, and my aim is to try to increase awareness about volunteering opportunities for dietetic students. Moreover, I am a member of some BDA specialist groups, which primarily focus on specific areas of dietetic practice, including mental health and sports nutrition – two areas of dietetics that I am particularly passionate about.

Are you a member of a QMU club or society?

I am a member of the QMU Dietetics Society and have thoroughly enjoyed attending talks across all areas of dietetics.

What has been the most valuable lesson that you've learned at university?

I think the most valuable lesson that I have learned at university is the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded and positive people who support you. It is important to have a network of people who are understanding when you are living away from home, and it is always nice to know that you are not alone in your experiences.

[Published February 2020]

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