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Jennifer, a DaVita renal dietitian from New Jersey, teaches her patients about healthy eating. Her Cranberry and Roasted Garlic Risotto recipe is so delicious and easy to make, you may just make it a weekly entrée. Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish that is warm, creamy and filling. The cranberry and garlic give the risotto a sweet and savory flavor that delivers a melody of taste and texture.
Being knowledgeable about healthy eating is a necessity for a dietitian, but Jennifer is also an artist at heart. She specializes in creating rhymes for meetings to entertain her fellow dietitians. “I have found a creative outlet. I love to rhyme and be silly, have fun and focus on positive energy. Why not? Here at DaVita that is welcomed, and I am so happy to jump in with my ‘dialysis takes’ on popular songs. Maybe I found my calling as a singing dietitian?” wonders Jennifer.
It was an easy choice for Jennifer to become a renal dietitian. Jennifer says, “I have a passion for health and wellness and wanting to help people stay healthy. I was led into the renal field because of the opportunity to develop long-term relationships, and my quest to impact health and quality of life by educating and supporting people on dialysis, which can be quite a challenge.”
“Actually the most challenging aspect of my job is balancing the many activities that we can offer our patients. Next would be realizing that everyone does not want to focus on their diet and the impact it has on their health. I remain as supportive as possible, but it is difficult to know that some people are really hurting themselves and are unreceptive to education and support,” admits Jennifer.
Reaching out to all of her patients is Jennifer’s main goal. “My approach is individualized, informal and non-judgmental. I make a difference in my patient’s lives by treating them as individuals and partnering with them. Listening, laughing, teaching — they all go together in building a trusting and positive relationship,” believes Jennifer.
Jennifer is constantly rewarded by her working with her patients. “There are many rewarding aspects of my job, especially connecting with patients and their families while working together toward a goal of becoming healthier or maintaining a healthy state, whatever the case. I love supporting improved quality of life and enjoyment of eating. It is such a social and personal part of each person in a unique way. I also enjoy being able to foster a working knowledge of balance, variety and foods in the diet for someone on dialysis. It’s a great aspect of being a registered dietitian. “
There are many proud moments for Jennifer while working with her patients. “It’s exciting to see the ‘light bulb moments’; those moments when something clicks and the understanding is apparent to both of me and my patient and we can go to the next stage of education. I love educating and encouraging the enjoyment of food,” says Jennifer.
Even though education is Jennifer’s first priority, she still makes it fun for her patients. “The most important things a patient can do to improve their health is be knowledgeable and put that knowledge into daily practice. However, I like to make learning fun. I did some quick turkey wrap demonstrations at the holidays while playing holiday music and I had lights and candy canes. The patients loved it! I also started to put information in the bathroom, over every wall — I get so much feedback; they let me know when they want a change in reading material.”
Jennifer’s DaVita dialysis center in New Jersey is special to her. “It is a smaller facility and it feels like a little family. I enjoy the DaVita teamwork, networking, sharing ideas and challenges. It really improves productivity,” she says. Jennifer brings her special brand of humor and caring to her patients and DaVita teammates.
Serve up a tasty risotto dish, compliments of Jennifer. Her Cranberry and Roasted Garlic Risotto recipe is the ideal dish to pass around the family table or introduce a European flavor to guests.
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