So here it is. I have already turned this in to be graded (I haven’t written a school paper in so long, I hope I did it correctly).
- What made you want to be a dietician (what was your moment that made you realize you wanted to be one)? I actually got the “bug” during high school, and honestly it was driven from the desire not to look like my parents. Little did I know at 18 that just being knowledgeable in nutrition didn’t translate into practice. Is this a job or a career for you? this has been a career for me, and will likely continue as such.
- How much schooling did you do to become one? Did you go past the Bachelors degree? Education wise, I have a BS in Food and Nutrition from Texas Tech University and I did have an additional post graduate education with a year long internship and option for combined Masters.
- How long have you been doing this? I have been an RD for almost 17 years. What other kinds of jobs have you had in your 17 years as an RD? I ask because I either want to do research or work for a doctor that performs stomach surgery for the obese. Prior to my current job, my entire career has been inpatient/Hospital based clinical nutrition, Working primarily in Medical, Surgical, or Cardiovascular ICUs,. I also covered an outpatient Oncology Radiation clinic. You work in the transplant department? What’s that like nutrition wise? Yes, i work in a transplant program, nutrition therapy for those patients is very different dealing with disease management as well as both nutritional needs or peri (before) and post (after) a major surgery. Most of the time its usually a low sodium diet with high protein. Add low to moderate carbohydrate diet. Do you enjoy it? I enjoy parts of it, what I enjoy the most about my current job is my multidisciplinary team approach that is used.
- What is a multidisciplinary team approach? I know a team approach at a normal job but how does a nutritionist work with transplant doctors and what other kinds of people have input? A multidisciplinary team is just that: Medical doctor, surgeon, RD, Pharmacist, Social Worker, nurse, physical therapist. We meet daily and go over each patients’ needs for the day and the how to achieve the goal for discharge. Just like you see on TV, a big group of people and go bedside to bedside. it takes being at work very early to prepare for it but then I’m basically done by noon!
- Have you gotten to watch someone go from fat to fit? Not so much as an RD, my patients typically go from thin to overweight/obese. In “my night job” as a group exercise instructor I have seen many people become “fit”. You said people in your current role go from being thin to overweight/obese. I can understand why a transplant patient may need to gain some weight but, obese? Yes, my patients tend to be on medications post transplant that promote weight gain over 25 lbs/year. so managing that with there bad habits tends to promote obesity.
- Do you feel like you are helping people? I know I am helping people! Has anyone ever come back to you and told you that you changed their life? I have had many people tell me that i have help changed their lives, or the family member has said so, my patients typically don’t recognize it.
- Have you ever thought of being in private practice? Based on our conversation, it sounds like you would be a fantastic clinical RD! Nope never considered private practice… the state license laws make that difficult.
- Do you recommend a certain diet or mostly fruits and vegetables? OR Do you recommend people to try different things to find what works for them? I recommend the diet that “is right” for that particular person, but a lot of what i consider is what my patient is willing to do. For example we have a large Asian population in Houston, its difficult for them to cut out high sodium seasonings on a low sodium diet, so I work with them on what they can handle.
- How often would you recommend someone exercise if they don’t normally exercise? What kind of exercise do you tell people to start with and for how long? How often somebody should exercises depends on their physical condition. Starting to exercise, would recommend 30 minutes 3-5 times per week and gradually build up. Start with a low impact exercise like walking, swimming, or jogging.
- What would you say to a person who has a Normal BMI but cannot walk more than one mile before being completely worn out? It is not always the BMI that matters, if you have a normal BMI with a relatively high adipose/visceral fat and very little lean body mass, then they need to start with cardio and light weight training. its all about conditioning.
- Do you work with kids and teenagers? I have worked with Pediatrics with previous jobs, but now the youngest I have has been a late teens, early twenties.
- What would you recommend as a dietary plan for a kid or teen? That is a population that should have a lot of input into developing their own meal plan!, they still are some what very choosy and particular in their diet habits. Plus with adolescents you have to take consideration into weight/physical appearance that will guide a lot of their decisions – especially females.I love that you think an adolescent should have a say in their diet. Have you worked with anyone (teen or adult) that has an eating disorder? I have worked with many patients who have been suspected of eating disorders. this is a difficulty to manage and best treated by those who see them regularly.