13. Hunt in Dubai

I’m currently sat in Starbucks (obviously) in the Dubai Mall making good use of the charging facilities, as I’ve totally drained my phone from using Google Maps all morning. I’ve come to Dubai for an interview – or so I thought. It ended up being a very random chat with a clinic practice manager whose first question was ‘So what is the difference between a nutritionist and dietitian? I get confused with the two’. Excellent. The view out the window was fantastic, looking out from the 22nd floor I could see the Burj al-Arab. A 7 star hotel, shaped like a sail.

With the tone of the ‘interview’ set in the first 3 minutes, I felt instant disappointment. There wasn’t actually a job, more the offer of a consultation room which she made perfectly clear multiple times that she is desperate to fill – to make money. How different the healthcare service is here in UAE. I’m learning very quickly that people don’t really look after themselves and then when they need help, they want it instantly. I wouldn’t get a salary but get paid on more of a commission basis. Other occupants of consultation rooms were professionals who whiten teeth, inject your lips and face, and charge an extortionate amount to tattoo your eyebrows. Oh, and a family doctor who you can request Adderall from, as the practice manager boastfully told me. Excellent.

So the interview was left that I would contact her if I’m interested in her room with a view, and with a plan of how much I could charge a patient per consultation. Also I would need to build a network, which she kindly suggested I could link with the life coach they have working there, and some local meal prep companies. Oh no, there it is. The meal plan nutritionist, something I find myself explaining to many people that I don’t do that, and worked hard for a postgraduate degree to be a registered dietitian. ‘So you make up menus and meal plans?’ No, I want to help sick people, people with a disease or who’ve had surgery. I want to work out their nutritional requirements and feed them through a tube, I want to counsel them through a tough diagnosis, explain to them their dietetic treatment, get to know them and their family. But never mind, on to the next! Least I got a day in Dubai.

The Hunt for Holly doesn’t end…