Dietetic Career Spotlight on Amy Giffin, RD, CD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on FEBRUARY 4, 2014
Being a dietitian who trains others is another job opportunity and Amy Giffin is able to teach fellow dietitians while also managing client materials and teaching classes. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I’ve always had a passion for cooking and good food. My father’s family has a long tradition of working in the cheese business and I thought about going that route. I started at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an interest in Food Science and Business. One of the first classes you take as either a food or nutrition major is an introduction to the professions. We had lots of dietitians come in from all different areas and I always felt like, that’s what I want to do! So I changed my major to nutrition and dietetics and fell in love.
Your Job Title/Company you are with now?
Administrative Training Dietitian at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center and Nutrition & Gardening Educator at NuGenesis Farm
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you.
As the Training Dietitian at the Milwaukee VA, my days are always different. I’m usually running around helping various people, updating policies and procedures, looking at recipes, developing educational materials, working with interns or volunteers, participating in national calls, and teaching classes. I currently run social media for the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics so on breaks and at night, I’ll find out what’s going on in the world of dietetics and share those stories on our pages. After work, I may have to teach a class for NuGenesis which for me is just plain fun! I love showing others how to cook!
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I completed the management rotation of my dietetic internship at the Milwaukee Center for Independence and the clinical rotation at the Milwaukee VA. I actually worked for MCFI first in school nutrition. I had stayed in touch with many of the dietitians at the VA though too. When a position opened up, one of the dietitians suggested that I apply. It was an opportunity to expand my horizons so I decided to take it on.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I’ve always been very friendly and that has helped as you are constantly working with people no matter what area you are working in. You never know who you might meet so always keep a smiling face and positive attitude!
Organization and time management are a skill I had but improved along the way. There are always a million different things that I want to do but I’ve learned to prioritize projects in order to meet deadlines and maintain my sanity.
I’m always continuing to develop my cooking skills. If dietitians are going to tell people what to eat, we also need to be able to tell them how to. Having cooking skills has made me a better dietitian because I can give people healthier recipes and ideas that meet their needs.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Be flexible and open to new things. The field of dietetics is so amazing because of the wide variety of areas you can specialize in. Be open to tackling whatever is thrown at you in your internship or job or volunteer work! You never know what you could develop a passion for! Also, get out there and get involved. Being involved with our local dietetics group has led me to meet so many wonderful people and learn so much more about what is going on in my community.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Fresh food from a local farm!