Julia King, Registered Dietitian at Michael Garron Hospital, stands in front of a colourful mural.

#IamMGH – Meet Julia King

#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. To celebrate Dietitians Day (March 20) and Nutrition Month (March), meet Julia King, Registered Dietitian in Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) Outpatient Oncology and Hemodialysis units. 

“Growing up, I always admired my mom’s work in healthcare and had this burning desire to learn more about food, nutrition and health. Through her, I was able to shadow a dietitian at her workplace and this experience really pushed me to pursue a hospital-based career in nutrition. I completed an internship at St. Michael’s Hospital in 2011 and worked in a long-term care home as a dietitian for a few years afterwards. In 2015, I applied to Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) when I saw they were hiring for a Registered Dietitian. I have been working at MGH for just over seven years now! 

Nutrition plays a key role in patient care, which is why it’s important we highlight both Dietitians Day and Nutrition Month. Dietitians are the only regulated health profession with expertise in food and nutrition. In our role, we provide patients with evidence-based advice to optimize their nutritional status. Depending on how patients are receiving their nutrients – for example, through oral or artificial methods, such as tube feeding or IV – our work may involve high levels of calculations and collaboration across the hospital, especially with our pharmacy teams, to ensure patients are getting the nourishment they need to help support their recovery. 

As dietitians, we support patients with complex nutritional needs across many different hospital areas, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Medicine, Surgery, Complex Continuing Care (CCC) and Outpatient Chronic Disease Units. In my current role at MGH, I work closely with patients and families in the Outpatient Oncology and Hemodialysis Units to assess their nutritional status, education needs and develop nutrition care plans to help support optimal health. This work is important because patients who have a cancer diagnosis can experience many symptoms that impact their nutrition as they undergo treatment, which may result in difficulties with eating and weight loss. In the Hemodialysis unit, patients may need to modify their diets to stay healthy in between dialysis treatments. Without good nutrition or proper guidance, it can be hard for patients to withstand treatment and continue living healthy lives. 

Counselling patients in both the Oncology and Hemodialysis Outpatient Units and providing them with the tools they need to improve their nutritional status independently is a truly rewarding part of my job. I find these one-on-one moments key to developing patient relationships and creating a safe space with them to express their thoughts about their nutritional journeys and what they’re experiencing.  

It’s wonderful to see dietitians making a difference for people and patients, even if it is something small. Hearing feedback from our patients about how even one minor change had a positive impact on their overall well-being just reminds us how important dietitians’ roles are in patient care and the impact nutrition makes on one life. I would like to give a shoutout to all my dietitian colleagues who do an amazing job – they deserve all the recognition!” 

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