Hello THIH readers! After recovering from my “tastes of the wild“, I’m ready to share with you more about what a registered dietitian does. To bring new readers up to speed: I’ve talked about nutrition research and clinical dietetics, as well as quick looks at food service dietetics and community nutrition with SNAP-Ed. Let continue this series, shall we?
Over the past five weeks, I’ve had the fortune to intern with Maryann Meade, a private practice dietitian in Connecticut. As I discussed in my clinical dietetics post, registered dietitians work in many diverse areas. Maryann not only offers nutritional counseling for a variety of nutritional needs, but also consults for home care agencies, day care organizations, drug and alcohol facilities, workplace wellness programs, and more. She is also involved politically, having held several offices in the American Dietetic Association and currently the office of delegate for business and consultation in the House of Delegates of the American Dietetic Association. She has even taught classes at the University of Connecticut! Diversity in dietetics is not just a rumor, kids.
So, what exactly did I do over the past five weeks? A short summary:
Welcome to the waiting room! You have an appointment with Maryann? Please, sit and get comfortable. Maryann will be with you in just a moment.
I observed and participated in many nutritional counseling sessions during my time with Maryann. We counseled clients with diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, IBS, anemia, kidney stones, disordered eating, lactose intolerance, acid reflux, nutrition support, and more. We also counseled athletes looking to fuel their performance and individuals who wished to lose weight. I feel like I’ve seen almost everything over the past several weeks – but I know there’s much more out there. I have also met many amazing people who are committed to their nutritional health. Having clients come in and thank us for the help we give them is one of the most rewarding aspects of nutritional counseling – but, not the only one!
Maryann and I also visited some clients in their homes. These visits are particularly fruitful because home visits give us a chance to observe food practices and cooking facilities in the home – for example, if a client is talking about a particular specialty food, he or she can just pull it out of their cabinet and show it to us. Nice. I have also helped Maryann give presentations at a children’s nutrition program for which she consults, as well as attended a meeting of certified diabetes educators.
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes as well. As a nutrition consulting business owner, Maryann establishes and maintains relationships with other health care providers and organizations through marketing and communications. For example, I developed mad skillz in writing assessment letters to physicians and nurses concerning mutual patients/clients. I also learned about billing insurance companies, setting up appointments, and arranging referrals.
Hard at work on the computer. Gotta have a picture of me at the computer for every dietetics-related post.
Dude, where’s my doctor letter??
Establishing, growing, and maintaining your own business is not easy!
Don’t forget: registered dietitians need to eat, too! A lunch beneath the tulips:
A mish-mash of veggies, feta, olives, olive oil, and fresh herbs:
Greek yogurt with raspberries and blueberries:
Veggies? Check. Healthy fats from olives? Check. Protein in my yogurt? Check … But, wait, Jessie! This isn’t a balanced meal!
After reviewing these pictures, I realize I had forgotten to add my usual whole grain pasta to my veggies and olives. No whole grains in this meal. Oops. I guess even soon-to-be-RDs make mistakes 🙂 Not every meal is going to be balanced, but that’s ok!
Hanging out with Maryann in her office:
Thanks, Maryann! I had a wonderful time over the past five weeks! 😀
If you have any questions about private practice dietetics, please feel free to contact me.
Future plans: Next week, I’m very excited to be working with Marci Anderson, the owner of Marci RD Nutrition Consulting in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. Marci is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer who specializes in eating disorders, body image, emotional eating, and more. Stay tuned!
P.S. The cherry trees are blooming in New Haven! Check it:
Have a great Easter weekend, everyone!
Q: What aspect of dietetics do you find the most interesting so far?
Have you ever seen a cherry tree in bloom? Gorgeous!