Rupal Patel, Nutrition Lead and Cardiothoracic Transplant Dietitian

What is the best thing a patient has ever said to you?

That they have their own family and then they have their Harefield family, and both are equally as dear to them. That’s really heart-warming to hear.

How long have you worked at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals?

For nine years

Can you describe what you do day-to-day?

I look after the nutritional needs of patients who are on their transplant journey, be it heart or lung, at Harefield hospital. This involves providing nutritional advice to patients including those who need to gain or lose weight, or those who receive artificial nutrition via a feeding tube through their nose into their stomach or through an IV (intravenous) line straight into a vein.

What makes the role of a transplant dietitian different from other dietitians is that we see patients along their entire transplant journey, advising every step of the way on a variety of nutrition-related concerns, rather than being specialised in one particular area of dietetics.

As nutrition lead, I also oversee all aspects of nutrition governance and hospital catering across Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals.

What do you like most about your job?

Working with transplant patients is the most rewarding part of my role, diet and nutrition is an aspect of care that patients and their families can really get involved with and work collaboratively together with their dietitian. 

I also enjoy the variety and scope of clinical and non-clinical work my role allows me to do. No one day ever looks the same and this always keeps my job exciting.

Why did you decide to work in healthcare?

I have always wanted to do a job which involves helping others but also allows me to be around science! The NHS is the best organisation in the world to develop these skills in, as we are faced with being resourceful with what funding we have in place but also impactful in all we offer.