Imagine coming through the door of your home at dinnertime and being greeted by the smell of a fresh pork roast slow-cooked with apples, onions and cinnamon. Wouldn’t it be great to sit right down to a hot meal? All you need is a slow cooker. Brenda from Washington has a recipe that’s ready in 4 hours with no fussing. Just toss in the pot and go. When you return, it’s all ready.
With a twinkle in her eye, DaVita dietitian Brenda from Washington admits thatduring college she promised a lot of people that she would never work in renal nutrition. The moral of that story is “never say never” because when she finished her internship, there was a job opening with Davita close to her hometown. Brenda checked it out and says, “Now, eight years later, I am very satisfied with my chosen career and have no intentions of leaving.”
From her original home in Selah, WA, Brenda went to Eastern Washington University for a BS in Human Biology, and Washington State University for a BS in Food Science and Human Nutrition. She acquired an MS in Human Nutrition as well. Still, coming up with new ways to deliver repeat messages to patients is a challenge for Brenda. She also meets the challenge of motivational interviewing with patients to a point where lasting behavior modification is achieved. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is developing a strong rapport with patients so I can assist them with achieving desired outcomes,” Brenda says. “This adds quality to their lives in the sense that patients feel better at this stage, and are more actively involved with their family activities. I try to make adifference in patients’ lives by taking statements such as, ‘There’s nothing I can eat,’ and turning them into ‘Wow, that gives me a lot of options!’ I do my best to address fears of dietary changes and bring to light that there are plenty of healthy foods that fit a new stage in life.”
“What I enjoy most about working with patients iswhen they share a personal story with me. I love hearing about their families and watching their faces light up as they share stories about hobbies, pets, kids and grandkids, adventures when they were young, historical tales of serving in the armed forces overseas and many more. There is such a rich tapestry behind each patient; each person is so much more than their kidney disease.”
Brenda says her approach with patients is individualized because each person is unique, and their care and education must be tailored to fit their position. When asked what she thinks is the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health, Brenda responds“I have to pick just one? I would have to say, ‘Take their binders, end of story.’ High phosphorus is extensively damaging to the body—that is a known fact. Malnutrition is also detrimental. So, I would rather someone eat high-phosphorus meals to nourish their body, and take their binders without fail every time food goes in their mouth, than strictly limit what they eat and not take their binders. I would also like people to give up one processed food per week until they’re eating a variety of unprocessed foods. But that’s a whole different topic.”
Brenda has been with DaVita for a total of 8 years and says she loves that her job affords both autonomy and a strong sense of belonging to a team. “I love that my job provides a balance between very clinical, numbers-driven work and more of a counseling type role as far as educating and teaching patients goes. I love the team I work with here at Union Gap; they make work fun, but we’re also quite adept at getting stuff done.”
Brenda’s center is located in Union Gap, Washington, and she says the people who work here as well as the patients who dialyze here make it special . “It’s a short distance from my home, in the heart of central Washington. We are minutes away from a vast array of seasonal fresh produce, wine country and year-round outdoor activities.
Slow Cooker Apple Pork Roast fulfills the dietary requirements for fruit and protein in one meal. If you need a dish to not only meet food plan requirements, but also to go easy on the food budget, this pork roast could be right on target. Leftovers freeze beautifully, or make tasty sandwiches a day or two later.