Spotlight on: Sarah Campbell Bligh, RD
Sarah works full time as an in store dietitian for Sobeys in Dartmouth, where she hosts free group nutrition education for customers, staff, and community groups. Sarah also works part time for Acadia University as the interim dietetic practicum coordinator where she supports students and preceptors during the practicum and helps provide the connecting piece back to Acadia. This is a newer role for Sarah, but she loves working with the students and seeing them grow both professionally and personally as they move through their practicum.
Sarah started out wanting to be a child psychologist, but she took a nutrition course in her first year at Acadia and switched majors within 3 weeks – She’s never looked back! Sarah’s passion is teaching people about how to make food work for them, so it keeps them healthy and allows them to enjoy life. Sarah loves to cook and try new foods and she believes that enjoying the food you eat is every bit as important as how nutritious it is.
How do you unwind when you’re not working?
My husband and I try to spend time outdoors as often as we can. We canoe, hike, and camp as much as possible, and when the weather makes those activities challenging we try to do other outdoor things. We also like to try new activities each year. I learned to ski last winter, and we both learned to clay shoot this summer.
Where is your favorite food place in Nova Scotia?
It’s hard to pick, but I’d have to say the Annapolis Valley around Wolfville/Port Williams. I grew up there so I’m a bit biased, but I love the farms and fields. The best apples come from the valley, and I love apples – especially Cortland and Crimson Gravenstein! There are lots of great little restaurants around too – and wineries! I haven’t done the Magic Winery Bus tour yet, but it’s on my list!
What has been your proudest moment in your career?
One that always stands out to me is from an interaction with an intern. I love taking interns, and really enjoy watching them grow as they progress through their placement with Sobeys. The first time I acted as the main preceptor for an intern I was very nervous and wasn’t sure I’d have much to give in the way of a learning experience, as I had only been out and working for a few years. This particular intern that I had for my first time as a preceptor was a little shy, but very competent, and was also nervous – especially about the public speaking aspect of our work in the grocery store. We did a lot of work together on how to prepare for public speaking, and how to communicate nutrition information to the public. I remember having her teach a class by herself at the end of her placement that she was a bit hesitant to teach – and she rocked it! She was so animated and engaging. She didn’t seem nervous at all, and she fielded questions from the group like a pro. At the end she knew she had done a good job, too, she was just beaming! Seeing her blossom like that, literally in front of my eyes, was definitely one of the proudest moments I’ve had. I still get that feeling every time I see a student find their groove and feel not just competent, but confident as well.
What have you learned the most from your current job?
My philosophy on nutrition education has changed dramatically after working with food and the public. It was one thing to learn all the theory, a very different thing to actually try and teach people what to eat. I’m much more flexible now than I used to be. I’ve learned that you need to meet people where they are – to help them meet their needs in a practical way that works for them, respecting their individuality and circumstances. I’ve also learned that things happen when they need to – sometimes a change doesn’t happen right away not because it’s not a good change, but because it isn’t the right change for right now.