Regulation Matters 2021 - Issue 1, May

Welcome to Samantha Thiessen RD

New Practice Advisory & Policy Analyst

What a time to start a new role! Amidst this past year of uncertainty and change, I am happy to join the dynamic team at the College as a new part time practice advisor and policy analyst.

I am a practicing registered dietitian with 20 years of experience ranging from long-term care and inpatient rehabilitation to working overseas in Australia and Singapore, and teaching students and internationally trained dietitians in Canada. My current role is working in outpatient clinics in cardiac rehabilitation – a job I have loved for over 13 years, and I will continue to do alongside this College role. These experiences allow me to bring a unique practice-based perspective to the practice advisory role.

As I have grown professionally, so has my interest and passion for understanding the challenges in health care and practice-based issues. How do we resolve tricky situations? What are the best processes to bring something to a resolution? The answer, often, is, “it depends”. Frustrating answer, I know. I remember saying this to my students who asked questions on how to help a certain type of patient, or how do we know which pathway to pursue with them. Context matters in cases of clinical and non-clinical practice, so we regularly hear, “it depends”.

This seems relevant with the Practice Advisory service. Our answers to your often difficult and complex practice questions are multifaceted, multipronged approaches to help guide you. The context of the situation, the patient or colleague in question, the clinical markers, for example, make each practice issue unique. So, while the obligations and accountabilities are clear, the answer is rarely straightforward. This is the challenge, but also the beauty of dietetic practice, isn’t it? We live in the grey areas, thrive in the uniqueness of our clients, we offer our skills and knowledge to help, to educate, to coach, to guide. In our most demanding days, remember how beautiful this job is and how, collectively, we are making a difference.

I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this team. I look forward to helping dietitians deliver safe, ethical, and client-centered nutrition care in the interest of public protection.