Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My life as a Registered Dietitian

Note: This post is participating in an "RD Blogfest" in honor of National Registered Dietitian Day (March 11)

I was asked to write a post about how my work life and being a dietitian coincide.

I should clarify to readers. A Registered Dietitian is someone who has 4 years of school in dietetics, 900 experience hours, and passed the registration exam. These are the folks that you should see for advice. Because we aren't a licensed profession (yet).... anyone is able to call themselves a nutritionist and dole out advice, sometimes correctly, sometimes not.

There are many places where you'll find Registered Dietitians. It just so happens that I work in a dialysis center. Dialysis is a life sustaining treatment that keeps people alive whose kidneys aren't working. Diet plays a huge role since the kidneys function in keeping your electrolytes in balance, getting rid of excess sodium and fluid, converting Vitamin D to a usable form for your body, and helps produce red blood cells that helps oxygen travel around the body.

The thing I really like about my job is the relationships I've formed with my patients. Because I see them 3 times a week and they're there for about 4 hours, I have plenty of time to speak with them. I find something in common with just about any of them. One patient has taught me so much about gardening (something that I'm just getting in to). He spent many years landscaping. He's from Puerto Rico and his brother sent him some seeds for a sweet pepper plant. He even brought me in some. I had a huge batch of flat, pole beans that I brought to him. He opened my eyes to sofrito as well.

There are others that I talk sports with. Even some fellow Mets fans. One of them just received a transplant from his daughter last week and he is recovering well. I will miss my chats with him. He even was a basketball player for a short time with the Detroit Pistons and would tell me stories about his playing days.

Some others politics, family, childraising. I've gotten great tips for helping me with my son. They always like to see my pictures and listen to my stories.

So you see, for as much as I've given them... I received it back twofold. I pride myself in being a dietitian that they don't dread seeing as I come by with their lab reports. Occasionally, I get a couple that pretend to be sleeping... but I'm on to them!

Check out some other fabulous Registered Dietitians and the work they do. Wish them a Happy Registered Dietitian's Day! March 11th.

Beyond Prenatals - Food vs. Supplements and Real Advice vs. Fake Advice
Annette Colby - No More Diets! A Registered Dietitian Shares 9 Secrets to Real and Lasting Weight Loss
Ashley Colpaart - Dietitians working in food policy, a new frontier
Diana Dyer - There and Back Again: Celebration of National Dietitian Day 2009
Marjorie Geiser - RD Showcase for National Registered Dietitian Day - What we do
Cheryl Harris - Me, a Gluten Free RD!
Marilyn Jess - National Registered Dietitian Day--RD Blogfest
Julie Lanford - Antioxidants for Cancer Prevention
Renata Mangrum - What I'm doing as I grow up...
Liz Marr - Fruits and Veggies for Registered Dietian Day: Two Poems
Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen - Family Nutrition ... It's our "Beat"
Jill Nussinow - The Registered Dietitian Lens I Look Through
Wendy Jo Petersen - March 11 is our day to shine!
Diane Preves - Registered Dietitians and the White House Forum on Health Reform
Andy Sarjahani - Dr. Seuss Tribute continued: Green Eggs and Ham and a Sustainable Food System
Rebecca Scritchfield - Big Tips from a "Big Loser"
Anthony Sepe - RD Showcase: Registered Dietitian Day, March 11, 2009
Kathy Shattler - RD Showcase for Nutri-Care Consultation
UNL-Extension, Douglas/Sarpy County - Nutrition Know How - Making Your Life Easier
Monika Woolsey - Dietitians--Can't Do PCOS Without Them
Monika Woolsey - In Honor of National Registered Dietitian Day


Anthony Sepe said...

Hi Jen,
Happy RD Day to you. Hope things are going well for you. Nice to see you and hangout on FB, what a hoot!
Have a great day and keep the pics comin.'
Anthony Sepe

Renata said...

Hi Jen,

I'm glad you shared your perspective. Sometimes we look at career options and don't realize that the relationships we build are very important.

hormonewoman said...

Hey Jen,

Thanks for participating in RD Blogfest!

I look forward to more successful events.

I also look forward to more Scramble challenges on Facebook--hee hee!


Beyond Prenatals said...

Thanks for sharing! I had the opportunity once to become a dialysis RD but I gave it up to go to grad school. I am sure I made the right choice but by reading your blog, I see what I missed out on. It is so nice that you get to develop a real relationship with your patients.

I checked out your other blog too and I really enjoyed the parenting article and all the comments!

Diana Dyer said...

Hi Jen,
I just "fell in love" with the kidney in grad school and started life as a renal RD. I agree that I got twice back compared to what I gave to my patients. I had some sleepers, too, that eventually woke up to chat with me when they finally realized that I wasn't a meanie! I just loved the docs, nurses, and social workers that I worked, too. It was rewarding to be part of a real team approach to optimizing both medical care and quality of life.

Liz Marr, MS, RD said...

Hi Jen, Thanks for your perspective working in a dialysis center. As a dietitian who does not work in a clinical setting, but rather in communications and education, I appreciate your fortitude and clinical skills.


Edible Nutrition said...

Happy RD Day! You make such a difference in your patient's lives! My 86 year old neighbor is on dialysis, and she always tells me about her "other family." You hold a special place in their hearts!

The Veggie Queen said...

Great to find out what you do as an RD. It's a real service, and I am sure that your patients appreciate you.
I agree with Liz that it's good to get a different perspective.
Thanks for your post.

Anonymous said...

I am a stay at home mom working toward becoming a registered dietician. I am currently observing RD's in an inpatient setting and have seriously wondered if I should still be pursuing this degree. Many have told me to go to nursing school instead as the job opps will be greater. Do you find that most RD's are happy? Would you become an RD if you had to do it all over again?

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Yeah, it is really something wonderful, when you can connect with people and talk from heart, knowing that the other really listens and understands you and gives advice. Ray's diy solar system blog.

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