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We all love comfort food from time to time, and few dishes offer more comfort than hot Sausage Noodle Casserole. Anna from Nevada, and her patient AJ, hit the bull’s-eye with this recipe, but they also knew that cholesterol and sodium were a concern with the ingredients mentioned in the title. Weren’t they going off-the-charts with a recipe like this?
Not after they made a few smart tweeks.
Anna points out that low-sodium sausage and No-Yolk noodles transform Sausage Noodle Casserole into a great comfort-food choice. The recipe provides 8 one-cup servings.
Originally from Minnesota, Anna has resided in Las Vegas almost 7 years. She jokingly says seven years make her “practically a native.” Even before college, Anna knew she wanted to work in the healthcare setting, and by her freshman year at University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, she was hooked on dietetics. “I was looking to leave the hospital setting,” Anna says, “and I was looking for a more stable work environment, Renal was a perfect fit. I get to see my same patients two or three times a week, help them make changes in their health, and provide education to patients and staff.”
The most challenging aspect to the job of a renal dietitian, in Anna’s opinion, is, “…finding time for all my patients. I love getting to know them and providing as much one-on-one education as possible. Between labs and charting, sometimes that is hard to accomplish. Sometimes I feel I have just enough time to say hi, discuss a couple of lab values and then move on to the next patient before the shift ends. Themost rewarding aspect of my job comes when I help patients accomplish their goals, whether that’s improving a lab value or losing weight. I get a great reward helping them improve their health and outcomes. I hope I make a difference every day even in a little way, by helping a patient make better diet choices, or understanding a medication or part of treatment, or just making them feel better about dialysis. Sometimes those little things help the patients feel that much better.”
Working with patients is of prime concern to every dietitian on the front lines of renal treatment today. “They keep me on my toes,” says Anna. “They are always asking me questions about new diets or medication. I love when they show interest in their treatments and want to know more information and to be involved in their care. I’ve been with DaVita two and a half years, and I’d describe my approach to working with patients as “engaging.” I try to make patients get involved—having them tell me what’s going on, reviewing their own report cards and telling me how they are doing. I try to use interactive education materials and programs to get patients working with the staff and other patients.
“The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is choose low-phosphorus foods to help improve lab values and reduce the need for binders in some cases, which helps them feel better. We are currently doing quarterly nutrition classes at the clinic, creating new topics each quarter that patients want to know more about. Topics are not just renal-related, and family members are encouraged to attend as well.”
Anna has worked for DaVita two and a half years. She says, “I love the creativity DaVita allows. The staff members love to try fun activities for patients. They love the freedom to try new projects or ideas for patient-learning and education. There are resources that make it easy to educate patients on health topics, along with other dietitians willing to help if you have any questions. I am constantly learning new things about dialysis treatments, ways and not just nutrition. By far the biggest surprise is with insurance—so much information!
Anna’s center is located inLas Vegas, Nevada. She’s impressed with having, “all modalities at our clinic-In-Center, Nocturnal, HHD and PD. Working with patients being treated by different modalities give lots of variety. I like providing nutrition classes and additional activities in our facility.”
If you love comfort food, there’s no need to deny yourself. Take up a wonderful, hot portion of Sausage Noodle Casserole, the way AJ and Anna serve it. Veggies, protein and noodles make this a balanced meal.
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