Renal dietitians often face the challenge of how to season meat flavorfully without adding a lot of salt or other ingredients that may not be recommended for the kidney diet. DaVita renal dietitian, Joyce from Pennsylvania, hit the jackpot when she combined chopped grapes and apples in her chicken salad, and then added a dash of ground cinnamon. It was a successful experiment according to the lucky patients who sampled it for a taste-test. Joyce’s Chicken Salad is high in protein and bursting with low-potassium fruits and veggies.
Joyce was led to the renal field in a most personal way. She recounts, “My brother was on dialysis and had a dietitian who did not want to cover the dialysis rotation from her hospital. She was not helpful to my brother so I decided I needed to get involved.” And so, Joyce, a University of Pittsburgh graduate, who was already a dietitian decided to become a renal dietitian.
Joyce says her greatest reward is when patients understand what she’s trying to get across. The most challenging aspect is when a patient does not seem to care about living or dying. To make a difference in a patient’s life, “I always imagine it being my family member who is sitting in that chair,” she says. “I enjoy the variety of personalities and always try to take the time to listen.”
The single most important thing patients can do to improve health, in Joyce’s opinion, is know their own lab values. The benefit of that according to Joyce is so patients can “learn what they can enjoy eating more of.”
Joyce has been with DaVita several years, and has found that educational games are effective in educating patients. Joyce enjoys working for DaVita and says, “I truly agree with DaVita’s Core Values.”
Finally, Joyce admits that when it comes to her recipe, “My patients really love this chicken salad!” Maybe it’s the crunchy apples and celery. Maybe it’s the surprising burst of cinnamon on the taste buds. Whatever it is, Joyce’s Chicken Salad is a sure-fire hit.