With National Nutrition Week (15–23 October) approaching, it’s the perfect time to discover the profound impact of diet on health – and how Torrens University’s Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Nutrition) is actively contributing to this important field.
As well as theoretical knowledge and practical skills, this course equips students with the tools to take control of their future careers. Through specialised subjects such as Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Business Skills in Health (EPR307), it prepares students to establish their own nutrition clinics, lead health-focused initiatives and make a lasting impact on individuals and communities.
In EPR307, students study the core foundations of small business management and entrepreneurship, covering legal requirements, branding, marketing and financial management. When paired with immersive hands-on experience and clinical placements, this know-how enables graduates like Holly Arnold to confidently launch their own practices.
Holly’s interest in food can be tracked back to her family, who were keen cooks. But it was two life-altering events that truly set her on this path. Diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 15, Holly began to explore nutrition and its direct impact on health. A decade ago, she moved from the UK to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where healthy living and wholesome food were ingrained in the lifestyle. This sea change, along with her personal health journey, motivated Holly to study the connection between food and overall wellbeing.
After completing her Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Nutrition) degree, Holly set up her own practice as an accredited clinical nutritionist in Sydney. Holly shares how her patient interactions at Torrens University’s student-led clinic, The Practice Wellbeing Centre, changed her career trajectory.
Why did you decide to establish 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 at The Practice Wellbeing Centre at Torrens University’s Surry Hills campus and thought, “I'm actually pretty good at this. Maybe I could do it as my career.”
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 contribute and hopefully do quite well.
Did the Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Nutrition) help you set up your business – and how so?
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 the 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 key knowledge and skills does the course provide for a successful career in nutrition?
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. 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.
What did you enjoy most about your studies at Torrens University?
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 University are still reaching out to give their advice and they’re always available to point me in the right direction. Running my own business as a nutritionist is hard work, but it also makes me very happy. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What advice do you have for current students aspiring to set up their own nutrition practice?
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. And try to capture your point of difference, to make your business a success. 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.
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.