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Want to change careers and transform your health?

How studying nutrition at CNM can give you a new lease of life

What did you do before studying nutrition at CNM?

My university degree was in biochemistry, but I knew I didn’t want to work in a laboratory after graduating.

I was offered a role with an international brand which led me into a career in marketing, and ultimately my own businesses.

I’ve run these for the past thirty years, so I was ready for a change in direction.

What made you want to study natural therapies?

One of the things that struck a chord with me was the unhealthy diet and lifestyle of so many of my team at work. Junk food, fizzy drinks and minimal physical activity were the norm, and I could see the effect these habits had on their physical and mental health. Having come from a background where my parents grew their own vegetables, I was awakened to the impact that poor diet has on health.

A friend of mine asked me to come along to a CNM open day. It was amazing and really opened my eyes to the world of health and nutrition. I was hooked – I’d finally found my tribe and it suddenly felt this is was where my whole life had been heading. My friend and I enrolled on the Naturopathic Nutrition course soon after and we went on an incredible journey together. Even though I had no idea how I was going to fit the course into my busy lifestyle and work commitments, I knew I had to do it.

What attracted you to CNM?

The structure of the course and the ethos of the college is what attracted me to CNM. Studying a course with a solid scientific basis was important to me. The course content was comprehensive with a solid evidence base. I loved the naturopathic approach and how it was essential to understand how the body works before learning how to support it. It was also great to build on my scientific knowledge and to be able to look at information in a whole new light.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

I loved meeting new, likeminded people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences and forming solid friendships. Now that I’m practicing, I find that the support network built up at college is invaluable. The team at CNM and all the lecturers were also incredibly supportive and inspiring. Listening to these practitioners discuss the vast range of topics we covered and hearing about their own clinical experiences bought a whole new perspective to my life; it broadened my horizons and made me look at things from a different perspective.

How has studying at CNM changed your life?

It’s given me renewed enthusiasm and zest for life. Being able to engage with equally passionate people is so invigorating. Studying nutrition and becoming a practitioner has also brought me a lot of diverse experiences and new skills which I’m incredibly grateful for. It has challenged me and taken me out of my comfort zone, and also given me confidence in my ability and what I can achieve.

What you are doing now that you are qualified?

I’m the Director of Studies for CNM Belfast and Dublin and I have my own private practice. I also work in a skin clinic where I specialise in nutrition for skin health. Working in a medical setting alongside surgeons and dermatologists has been very interesting. My role there is to bring a naturopathic and holistic approach to skin health and to help patients get to the root cause of their skin conditions.

What you love most about practicing?

The educational aspect of practicing appeals to me most. Being able to educate and empower people to take control of their health and improve their life is so rewarding. One particular area of interest to me is the gut-brain connection and I love researching this topic.

Tell us about your role at CNM

As the Director of Studies, I provide academic guidance and pastoral care for students. Having being through the course myself, I understand the challenges they face, especially juggling study with other personal and work commitments. I provide students with a calm and stable influence, especially when it gets stressful around the end of the course and at exam time. My aim is to keep students on track with their studies and encourage them not to look too far ahead. I love receiving positive feedback from students saying the support I’ve given them has made a real difference to their life. I’m also involved in writing content for CNM’s short courses and lectures, and I lecture on a range of biomedicine and nutrition subjects. I also work as one of the academic tutors, giving additional support to students throughout all the colleges.

Tell us about CNM Belfast

We have a lovely close-knit community of lecturers and students. Our students come from all walks of life from all over Northern Ireland and Donegal. Everyone supports each other and great friendships have formed amongst the students. There is something special about everyone at the college and the teaching team are all very caring and supportive and go out of their way for students.

Do you have any graduate success stories you can share?

There are so many! One graduate opened her own skin clinic focusing on skin health, beauty and nutrition. Another became a sports nutrition specialist to build on her fitness training business. One graduate specialises in fertility health and is building up her clientele in this field. Some have gone on to become CNM lecturers, and some run training workshops. We’ve also had a few pharmacists, physiotherapists and chefs on the course who have incorporated nutrition into their current job.

What advice can you give to those thinking about studying nutrition?

Go for it! There are always excuses – time, money, family – but, when you find something that you love, you’ll make it happen as it gives you enthusiasm and zest for life. Small changes really make a big difference to your life and health.

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