Nutrition student following her dreams

Carmen a nutrition student who is transitioning from a career as a registered nurse to graduate as a Nutritionist and Herbalist, is very excited and enthusiastic about her career and her vision.

Learning as much as possible about everything nutrition and herbs, she hopes to one day open her very own nutritional cafe.

Read how Carmen one day hope’s to teach others through food their nutritional value, as well as owning her own cafe to hold lessons. We can’t wait to visit this fabulous dream cafe!

How did you know that you wanted to start your journey in Natural Therapies?

I have always been interested in natural therapies, especially herbs. A lot of the things that I do in regards to health care are what I learnt from my mum. It has been a part of my upbringing and a part of my South American background, which still tend to use a lot of natural herbal remedies.

Why did you decide to study Nutrition and Herbal Medicine?

It was my dream of having a cafe which provides some foods for those with food restrictions.
I also want to give people a place where they can go and have a little something nice to eat and not worry about getting sick. So, this can be considered as being when the stars aligned, guiding me to take the plunge. I said, if I’m going to do this, I may as well learn how to do it right.

How long have you been studying and where?

I have been studying now, part time, for 4.5yrs at Australasian College of Natural Therapies,  Pyrmont, NSW www.acnt.edu.au. I have completed an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine and I am about to complete an Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine and Bachelor of Health Science (nutrition).

Is there one piece of advice you have for new students embarking on their career or are current Nutrition students?

Don’t give up! At times things will get hard, complicated and you may even doubt yourself, but remind yourself why you are doing what you’re doing AND to believe in yourself! Don’t underestimate your gut instincts, or your initial thoughts and reactions to a situation, as you will generally be right.
I will never forget one day, while working as a newly graduated nurse and performing a neurological assessment of a patient. There were no obvious changes, but I did feel that there were some. I approached the ward Registrar, explained to him my findings and asked him if he could go and check out the patient.
Later in the day the Registrar came back and thanked me for notifying him as something had developed and needed immediate attention. From this day on, I have never doubted my clinical instincts, or ignored those doubting feelings of something not being right. The other thing is, always observe and ask questions.

What do you want to achieve when you graduate?

I would like to see people either in a clinic or on my own, guiding them to better health through food and diet modification. I also would like to teach people how to cook and take them on shopping tours so that they can see what is available.
I want to work with other CAM practitioners so that I can learn more and really hone in on my ability to assess each individual and provide the right treatment plan for them. But, ultimately I would love to have a cafe where I can make and bake all sorts of yummy good food (and maybe some not so good ones too) with a clinic attached.

Do you have an area you would like to specialise in?

At the moment I don’t have any particular area of specialisation, but I’m sure as time goes by, I will be shown what it will be. Maybe showing people how to cook and use foods for their health, while at the same time educating them.

How have you found job searching for a role in this industry?

Difficult, as most of the jobs available for working in a multimodality clinic, are mainly on the north shore or eastern suburbs, which is a little too far for me.

Are there any support and resources have you found that have helped you in your natural therapy journey/studies?

Fellow students are always great resources and support, as you can discuss things and help each other out. Lecturers are always your best resource while studying. They are always happy to answer questions or direct you in the right direction.
Also watching documentaries and attending seminars are also great for helping you to understand concepts or to expand your knowledge base. There are also great textbooks with fantastic information, which can provide you with the information that you need. They are also great to direct you to look into other things that may be relevant to your studies and research, especially journal articles.

In a few words, what would be your dream role?

Owning my little cafe/clinic, as well as having a ’cooking school’ teaching people how to use other ingredients that aren’t commonly used. I love to cook, create and show people how to use food in other ways that they may not be aware of.

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