Sheila, a DaVita renal dietitian, says her dialysis patient, Wendy, dreamed up this tasty, kidney-friendly breakfast food called Egg Pockets for people who want to eat well, follow the dialysis diet and get good lab results. Wendy enjoys cooking and asked Sheila what she could use with eggs instead of high-phosphorus cheese. Cream cheese was the delicious answer. The delicious results from this recipe have inspired Wendy to work on more of her unique recipes, and she’s even considering writing a cookbook — with the help of her trusted dietitian.
As a girl in Illinois, no matter what classes Sheila took, she still considered nutrition classes her favorite. Sheila went on to attend the University of Illinois, where she earned her bachelor of science, and then earned her masters at Eastern Illinois University. After school, while consulting at a nursing home, Sheila met a renal dietitian who guided her into the field.
Sheila says the most challenging aspect of her job is, “...trying to make the difference I think I should be making.” While the most rewarding aspect of being a renal dietitian for Sheila is “developing relationships with people, and all the learning that comes with it. I hope to make a difference by being one of the most caring people my patients have ever met,” she says.
Sheila’s easy manner and concern for her patients help them look on the bright side even when their lab results need improving. “What I enjoy most about working with my patients is seeing them smile, even when what I have to tell them isn’t fun. My approach is best described as, trying to meet them where they’re at.”
The most important advice Sheila gives her patients can be summed up in two words, “Get involved.” Sheila believes that when dialysis patients get involved in their care, by going to every treatment, following their kidney diet and learning about kidney disease, they tend to take more control over their lives which can lead to better results.
Getting involved can even mean lending a hand to fellow patients. Sheila shares, “I have a patient who believes my annual assessment literally saved his life. I discussed with him that he was ‘wasting’ and he said, ‘It just hit me.’ To regain his muscle, he started walking slowly in his house, then down the lane to his mailbox, and then up to a couple miles per day. He then became one of the best examples of how increased activity can increase appetite and improve outlook. He began agreeing to speak with other patients who were having a hard time. His message to patients is that they need to be persistent and determined to realize success and improvement in their health.”
Working at DaVita has brought inspiration from her patients and pride in the company. Sheila says, “I’ve been with DaVita for two years, and really enjoy the tremendous amount of resources and the company’s focus on Core Values. The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that this DaVita Village was developed by people who believed in something special, something different than that which already existed.”
Try something different and special for your next breakfast. Wendy and Sheila’s Egg Pockets recipe is the joint creation of a renal dietitian and a dialysis patient working in harmony with each other for good health and good flavor.