BY JOY OFASIA
AS a qualified graduate from the Fiji National University (FNU) with a Bachelor Degree in the field of dietetics and nutrition, Stacy Kofela’s quest to become an officer of the Correctional Service of Solomon Islands (CSSI) started off this year with a full-time job at the Correctional Centre in Honiara.
Now, Senior Sergeant Stacy is ready to take her knowledge, skills, and expertise to the next level. Solomon Women Newspaper brings you an interview of what it takes to become a first Dietician and Nutrition officer at the Centre in Honiara.
Here is the interview:
Brief Introduction of Yourself
My name is Stacy Kofela, I am 25 years old and I come from Malaita and Makira/Ulawa Province. I am privileged to be selected as the first Dietician and Nutrition officer of the Correctional Service Solomon Islands.
What Got You Interested in this Specific Field?
I am drawn to this specific field as I am intrigued by how food can impact our body and dictate our health. On the flip side, I am fascinated by how certain medical conditions can affect the human body due to unhealthy “eating lifestyle patterns”.
NCD (Non Communicable diseases) is everyone’s business and is an issue that’s affecting people globally and especially within the Pacific region. With the skills and passion, I have gained in this profession, I have confidence and hope to play a part in assisting in the reduction of the level of NCD in our good country.
Besides, NCD is dictated by how we human beings make simple life choices concerning the food we eat. I feel that I am privileged to be part of an interdisciplinary team; and correctional service Solomon Islands sets an ideal platform where I can push for awareness and educate our good people on the importance of engaging in healthy eating patterns and plans. If we can successfully educate our people on how to eat healthily then we can ultimately reduce the level of NCD within our country.
When did you Start Working with the CSSI?
I started working with Correctional Service Solomon Islands this year on the 6th of April after taking my oath from the commissioner on the 3rd of April 2020. Currently, I am on probation for 6 months.
Where did you Study to Achieve this Qualification in this field of Area?
I have completed my Undergraduate studies in 2019 at the Fiji National University (The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science) at Tamavua campus. I currently hold a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition.
Share an Experience that You Loved the Most about this Job
Generally, I love doing consultations with patients within the centre. These consultations are aimed at ways of improving the patient’s nutritional requirements and health status. I also enjoy proposing ideas purposely for the improvement of service delivered to patients and those in need of my expertise.
Working within CSSI is a privilege that sets the platform for me to better understand this prestigious organization since it is a different environment compared to the general medical settings. Working with an interdisciplinary team helps me to better understand the organization and also enables me to adjust myself to the expected standards that are required from an officer within CSSI. I also love working with other colleagues in the medical profession such as the counseling office, Nurses, and the Head of clinics who is a great supervisor.
Have there been Challenges in this Job?
There are challenges that I have encountered. As a young and new senior sergeant officer within in a prestigious institution, there are major responsibilities and expectations entrusted upon me. There are times that I would feel intimidated by many of the experienced colleagues. However, I always try to maintain my composure and keep my cool. I always remind myself that challenges are there to push and shape us. It is good to welcome these challenges, after all, overcoming challenges is key to any person’s career development. I understand that there will be more challenges ahead. However, with the awesome team around me, I have the assurance and confidence to make every effort to deliver my best.
How do you Overcome Challenges?
I overcome some of these challenges with the great support of my wonderful parents, who have been my inspiration and comfort from the beginning to where I am today. I also have support from my friend colleague who has assisted me tremendously to achieve the change needed in the Food Service of Rove Central Correctional Centre (RCCC).
However, through all these encountered challenges, I am thankful to Christ Jesus who has strengthened and encouraged me to endure and tackle these challenges. With that said, I can only say through Him all things are possible. Glory be to God; great things He has done.
What do you see as Important in this Specific Field of Dietetics and Nutrition officer at CSSI?
This field is important within the organization that I am working in at the moment. As a Dietician within CSSI, I aim to provide healthy, nutritional, and appetizing meals that will meet the needs of the population including those at risk of nutritional deficiencies, as well as those with NCDs. As a dietician officer, serving our population with a healthy diet is the right thing to do especially those who undergo rehabilitation within the Correctional Centre. At the core of my current position is the management of the nutritional health of the centre’s inmates because everyone deserves good nutrition.
What is your Job as a Dietetics and Nutritional Officer?
As Dietician and Nutritional officer, planning, formulating, and managing a therapeutic diet for inmates are some of my specific roles to deliver at the Centre.
Being a resource person on nutrition with my medical health team, my role is to promote better health, develop meals and nutrition plans, taking both individual preferences and budget into account, carry out one on one consultations and educate them on eating a healthy diet, assess patient Nutritional and Health Needs, carry out awareness and create educational materials about healthy food choices
Is there any Advice or Encouragement you would like to Share with Young Girls in Pursuit of Achieving their Goals?
Believe in yourself, don’t limit your capabilities, let your mind be free to dream and believe. When you believe in something, you can achieve it. Where the mind leads the body follows, if you plant a positive seed in your mind, you will achieve it.
Have a positive mindset and do not listen to negativity. There are already too many negativities in this world, be kind to yourself and your mind. Learn to protect it.
Reflect on yourself and see your weaknesses and make adjustments and set your priorities straight. Do not wait for opportunities. Go out and search for it. Have the courage and confidence to chase after opportunities.
Prayer for God’s guidance and strength and ask him to lead you to your path in life and surround yourself with girls that share the same interest or ideas that you have. The quotes, “Iron sharpens Iron” is one to ponder on in such situations or “birds with the same feather flock together”. You need the right people to build you up. If you place yourself among people who cannot see your vision or dreams, then to them it’s nothing. With the right people, they will see your goal and will encourage you to strive and achieve them.