“I want my patients to see that the single most important thing they can do for their health is learn. Knowledge will influence their choices and good choices are paramount to a healthy lifestyle.”
Speaking from three decades of experience, DaVita dietitian Carol continues, “At our unit, we employ lots of different ways to learn but my favorite is when we cook for the patients. We have a summer barbeque and a winter holiday meal. My skills as a former waitress and short order cook are very helpful. We plan and serve renal-friendly meals to patients before and after their dialysis treatments. Our high-protein barbeque includes hamburgers, chicken and deviled eggs. The learning is in a very relaxed setting while socializing and sharing a meal between patients and teammates.”
Carol says she always enjoyed cooking and did well in the sciences, so she decided to study dietetics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “Thirty-years ago, interest in nutrition was just starting to grow. I became interested in renal nutrition while covering for another dietitian on leave in a hospital setting. I soon realized that renal nutrition was a specialized field where regular follow up and counseling were key to success.” Carol has been a dietitian for 29 years and worked in the renal field for more than 20 years.
“The most rewarding part of my job is making a difference in people’s lives. I am able to use the knowledge I have acquired to make a difference in their health and well-being,” she shares. “Dietetics is challenging in that your responsibility is to your patient, yet there are many hats to wear in working in health care where costs are climbing and resources are declining.”
Despite those challenges, Carol’s approach remains simple. “At the top of my list is the patient who wants to see me. It is my feeling that if a person has a question or concern, their motivation and interest in learning is at its peak.”
“DaVita,” she says, “has been a special place to work because of the unique experiences offered by dietitians networking together, which have helped me grow professionally, both in knowledge and experience.”
Carol also draws on her own personal experiences to enrich her patients’ lives. “Recently, I had the experience of traveling to Europe for the first time. I brought my daughter to France to study for a semester and had the chance to experience real French cuisine and savor real French wine. I thought the crepes there were wonderful and remembered that I used to make crepes when my children were younger.”
This experience inspired Carol to share crepe recipes with her patients. “Crepes are so versatile. They’re a great way to dress up any meal. You can serve a meal once and resurrect it in a crepe so it will hardly seem like a ‘leftover’.”
Find out for yourself. Transform your leftovers with Carol’s recipe for basic crepes or enjoy something entirely new: Beef Burgundy Crepes for dinner and Apple Crepes for dessert.