31 October 2022

Pros and cons of regional life give nature-loving dietitian food for thought

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Ellyn Bicknell

Clinical community dietitian Ellyn Bicknell. Photo: Instagram/Dirty Food Dietitian.

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital dietitian Ellyn Bicknell feels that being immersed in small communities has allowed her to appreciate the impacts her patients feel in accessing the services in remote areas.

Ellyn works in many regional communities in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), including Batlow, Tumut, Tumbarumba and Gundagai.

“We have incredible diversity and many cultures here, and l learn so much from my patients and the communities I support,” Ellyn said.

“The conversations we share are so important because they bring a greater understanding of some of the barriers the people in regional areas and communities face.

“People are generous in sharing their life stories, and they always amaze me.”

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The accredited practising dietitian started her career with MLHD in 2019 and covered inpatient, outpatient and residential care referrals at Wagga Base Hospital and Gundagai MPS.

Ellyn said she relocated to Tumut as a new graduate and found her team incredibly supportive.

“It was a great entry point to health, providing me with a diverse range of experiences to broaden my skills,” she said.

Her role includes supporting the nutritional requirements of patients affected by COVID-19 in the Critical Care ward.

Ellyn covered the Sole Practitioner Dietitian role at Cootamundra and Gundagai, providing support to the Covid in the Home service as well as supporting the renal dialysis team.

 Ellyn Bicknell

Ellyn Bicknell is in her element. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

“I’ve had so much opportunity to upskill and deliver tailored quality care during very unsure times over these past few years,” she said.

Her love of good health and nutrients led her to move to the small community of Tumut.

“I love nature and the Tumut area, where I am surrounded by incredible parks, rivers, dams and places to explore.

“I am a keen vegetable and edible-flower gardener with a passion for climate action through encouraging awareness and exploration.”

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Ellyn says she’s grateful to be a part of the local growers and makers co-operative, increasing the accessibility of locally grown food through a central hub.

For the researching and publishing of two papers about the Environmental Impact of Food Consumption in Australia and New Zealand, Ellyn also dedicated her time to provide her invaluable assistance.

She encourages people to explore a diverse range of foods, how they grow, and how people and the ecosystem interact with each other.

She feels a beautiful sense of community in Tumut, where everyone fosters the support and development of community initiatives and small businesses.

“We take care of our environment and our town. And we especially take care of each other.”

To learn more about MLHD dietetics and nutrition, click here.

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