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How has COVID-19 Impacted your Work?

August 18, 2020

Author: Marissa Lustri, MPH, RD, Program Assistant at Nutrition Connections

Hello and welcome to Nutrition Connections’ first ever blog series dedicated to highlighting the work of our amazing community! Over the last month we have connected with various food and nutrition professionals to hear about how their roles have changed during COVID-19. We decided that creating this blog series would be a way to keep our community up to date, as well as introduce new sectors of employment to our audience.  

Our first blog post will be dedicated to how the role of a registered dietitian (RD) working in private practice has changed over the course of the last 6 months. To gather firsthand information on the changes to the role, I had the privilege of speaking with Chelsea Cross, owner of MC Dietetics.  

Prior to COVID-19, Chelsea had several things on the go, including counselling, precepting, workshop delivery, and guest speaking engagements. However, once COVID-19 physical distancing directives were put into effect by the province of Ontario there was a noticeable shift in people’s priorities. Chelsea noticed a sizable change (~75% decrease) in the number of clients booking her services. Chelsea believed that in the mix of stress and change many people’s priorities shifted and “food [nutrition, and self care] became last on the list, as other things were going on.”  

A major challenge Chelsea overcame was finding a way to continue her preceptorship, while simultaneously providing the highest level of care to her clients and learning experience to her dietetic student, while not having the ability to see either in-person. As there was no longer the ability for her student to attend patient counselling sessions due to the decreased demand and the confidentiality guidelines of the new virtual care model, Chelsea came up with a unique and cleaver counselling experience under the current circumstances. Chelsea provided her student with Youtube videos each week that were social media influencers outlining what they ate in a normal average day. Her student then created a plan on how this client would be counselled, including how to dispel common food myths, what things the student would look to make changes to and how they could best ensure the ‘client’ met the goals they wanted to achieve. 

As many of us reading this post are aware, COVID-19 has had major economic effects, and Chelsea highlighted that there was a worry on how COVID-19 would impact her practice, as it remains a very young company of less than 2 years. She kept her spirits high and instead of letting the fear of the unknown stall or roadblock her, she took the downtime as an opportunity to start doing things she didn’t previously have time for. Chelsea decided to completely re-do her website to help make her presence online more user-friendly for prospective clients and those interested in future nutritional guidance, as well as start in a new role as an online coach. This new role, which is separate from her Private Practice and RD role in Ontario, allows Chelsea to be part of a virtual team on social media where she provides her knowledge and guidance to individuals looking for guidance on bettering their life and health through nutrition, exercise and mindset work. This job allows for her to be fully involved in a client’s day to day activities and utilizes the skills and education she obtained through her backing in personal training and psychology. It has been and continues to be just another aspect that fulfills her through helping to “transform people’s lives.”

Though COVID-19 came with numerous challenges and changes to Chelsea’s private practice, she remained positive, persevered and used the time to pursue other opportunities.  

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