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Why Fatima loves her dream-job in homecare dietetics

Fatima Benzie is a homecare dietitian in Toronto.

Fatima Benzie works at SE Health as a homecare dietitian in Toronto. She comes from a big Portuguese family where she’s the youngest of six and has a family of her own. She tells the story of the family get-togethers before the pandemic while laughing and painting a vivid picture of the loving place that she comes from. Fatima is empathetic, kind and easygoing - perhaps her background is what gives her a warmth that can put anyone at ease – a skill that’s helped her in her career as a dietitian focusing on individual nutritional needs and eating habits.

On any given day, Fatima provides health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and supportive care. The work she does is also especially helpful for people living with cancer, diabetes, digestive or swallowing disorders. “I always tell my clients that I’m helping to fill up their gas tank,” Fatima explains. For example, if somebody is about to undergo chemo, I tell them that I’m helping to fill up with the right stuff to recover and sustain treatment.”

It’s these kinds of explanations that make Fatima great at her job. “Clients don’t always understand dietetics, so there’s a big education piece to our care.” Fatima says one of the most important things she does is helping clients understand dietetics and how it helps them. To her, it’s not enough to give a client a treatment plan, being patient-centered means putting yourself in their shoes and understanding that they may need more context than they’re asking for.

No matter what setting Fatima has worked in, her clients have always been her focus, but she’s found that homecare is optimal place for her to practice. “I thought that I had found my dream-job early in my career, in a facility-setting,” Fatima explains. “But I found patients in facilities were often tired or distracted, and therefore less able to absorb information.” Part of Fatima’s warmth and charm is her ability to listen and respond to her clients sincerely – something she feels she does best only when clients are at-ease in their own homes and most receptive to care.

“I’m so glad I found homecare. Clients are always telling me, ‘You really like your job!’ and I’m so happy they’ve noticed that,” says Fatima.

For Fatima, homecare is the dream she didn’t know she had. She wants to grow in homecare and continue helping people where they feel their best, it’s something she takes pride in. “Whenever someone asks, ‘what do you do for a living?’ I can say I am a homecare dietitian. For that I am grateful.”