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Holly Arnold’s Path to Becoming a successful nutritionist

For Torrens University Nutrition alumna Holly Arnold, passion, hard work and being open to all possibilities have contributed to the success of her nutritionist practice.

The Practice Wellbeing Centre led to Holly Arnold’s nutritionist career choice

Coming from a family that was excited about food and cooking was the foundation for Holly Arnold’s interest in nutrition. Then, two-life changing events inspired her to make this her career. At the age of 15 Holly was diagnosed with celiac disease. And 10 years ago, she moved from the UK to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast where, she says, ‘Everyone is healthy and always eats fresh food! Being immersed in a completely different place and starting to get on top of my celiac and work out what was wrong with my health, I was so inspired and motivated. I wanted to learn more about the connection between food and good health. That’s why I decided to study nutrition.’

After graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science Clinical Nutrition from Torrens University Australia four years ago, Holly now runs her own practice.

How did the Bachelor of Health Science Clinical Nutrition help you to launch your career?  

‘The course provides a practical, science-based understanding of how the body works. We studied the many things that can impact someone’s health and the modifications we can use to improve their wellbeing. We also learnt how to carry out our own research, and gained interpersonal skills through interacting with other students and our lecturers and then the patients who came into clinic. I developed skills in the consultations, such as how to build rapport and talk to people. So the course was a good combination of learning the science and practical nutrition knowledge, as well as diagnosing what the patient needs to work on themselves, with your input.’

Did you gain skills in the course that helped you set up your business? 

‘Absolutely. In the course they’re not just teaching you to become a practitioner, they’re also teaching you to be a businessperson. Many of our lecturers have practical clinical experience themselves and, as well, they invited a range of experts to talk to us about our career options when we graduated.

‘In particular, the third-year subject Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Business Skills in Health (EPR307) covers all the things you’ll need to consider when you set up your own healthcare clinic. There is so much involved, from the legal aspects to branding and accounting. You’ll put the skills and knowledge you gain in this subject into practice as soon as you start out on your own.’

What made you decide to set up your own clinic?  

‘Up until the final year of the degree, I didn’t think I wanted to work in clinic. I thought I’d probably find a role in research. Then I started my practical placement in the Practice Wellbeing Centre at the Surry Hills campus, and thought, I’m actually pretty good at this. Maybe I could do it as my career.

‘I’ll be honest, science doesn’t come naturally to me and I had to work really hard to get through the course. But what I found did come naturally was being in clinic talking to people. I think that’s where I started to excel. Everything I’d studied during the course came together when I was working with patients.

‘The encouragement I received from the lecturers in clinic and all the feedback from the patients made me see that it was an area where I could make a contribution and hopefully do quite well.’

What insights can you offer students who want to set up their own practice? 

‘The most positive thing is how supportive other practitioners are; they’re happy to share their knowledge and talk about what’s worked for them. Initially, I didn’t realise how hard it would be to set up a business. But at every difficult point, people were willing to offer their support. The lecturers who taught me at Torrens are still reaching out to give their advice and they’re always available to point me in the right direction.

‘Also, students should know that it’s important to pick the area you want to specialise in and nourish your knowledge in that space. It’s hard to cover all areas of nutrition, and you’d put yourself under too much pressure if you tried to do this.’

What would you like to say to our students who have just started the course? 

‘While you’re studying, take advantage of every opportunity to learn from practitioners in different areas. That way you’ll find out about all your career options. If you choose to set up your clinic, while it might be hard, it’s incredibly rewarding. If you’re passionate and self-motivated and want to make it happen, you’ll find a way. And try to capture your point of difference, to make your business a success.

‘If you don’t want to go down the clinic route, it’s amazing how many other opportunities there are in the health space. It’s all about putting yourself out there and making the most of all the options open to you.

‘Running my own business as a nutritionist is hard work, but it also makes me very happy. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.’

You can find out more about Torrens University Australia’s nutrition courses here.

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Torrens University Nutrition alumna Holly Arnold

WellBeing Team

WellBeing Team

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