Midwesterners are known for their warm, caring personalities. This is certainly true of Janie, whose altruistic nature led her to become a dietitian. “I wanted to be a part of helping people take an active role in how well they manage and improve their health.”
After growing up in Decatur, Illinois and attending both Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois, Janie entered the field of dietetics. She later discovered the renal field.
“The dietitian covering my clinic needed someone to fill in while she went on maternity leave,” Janie recalls. “Since I’ve always been interested in renal nutrition, I thought it sounded like a great opportunity to learn more about renal nutrition and gain some experience in another area of dietetics.”
Janie has been with her clinic for seven years, but became a DaVita team member just a few months ago. So far, she is very impressed. “DaVita has the best patient education materials! The resources available to dietitians and patients seem to be endless. Also, the entire team of dietitians within DaVita works really well together. It’s all about sharing great ideas and resources.”
Janie and her teammates enjoy using creative approaches to nutrition education. They like to play games, dress up, have contests and just have a good time with nutrition education.
For instance, “In 2005, we had a Serengeti Phosphorus Safari,” Janie shares. “Patients participated in weekly games, puzzles, quizzes, cooking demonstrations, and more. The winning shift got to have a Wild Jungle Party. The doctor even dressed up as a safari hunter to get patients excited about learning how to lower their phosphorus levels. The phosphorus levels were the best we’ve seen!”
But it isn’t all fun and games at the clinic. Renal health care does present its challenges and Janie works hard to help patients improve many aspects of their care at the same time. “We might have reached a goal of obtaining an albumin that’s normal, but then their phosphorus level might become too high,” she explains. “Then, after we reach the goal of obtaining a normal phosphorus level, there might be a dialysis access problem that needs to be addressed. It’s never boring, that’s for sure!”
“And it’s exciting to see how well patients feel after they’ve reached their nutrition goals,” says Janie. “At first, they’re intimidated by which foods are the best choices to make. But then, one area at a time, they start to really get it and see for themselves just what a difference they can make by making good food choices.”
Here’s a good food choice you can make for yourself—Janie’s Tortilla Wrap. Choose chicken, roast beef or turkey and then follow her simple steps. Now that’s a wrap!
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