You've heard the expression, “Food is love?” It perfectly describes how DaVita dietitian Rosa from Florida feels about this wonderfully exotic and tasty recipe—Stuffed Zucchini a la Maryam—that brings loving memories of her childhood and beloved grandmother. Rosa explains that her recipe is originally from the Middle East region and was very popular where she was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Rosa’s Lebanese grandmother used to prepare this dish on Sunday’s (or special occasions) using local ingredients. To make it healthy for her dialysis patients, Rosa modified the ingredients to fit the renal guidelines and says it’s just as delicious as grandma used to make.
Rosa became a dietitian because she was always interested in healthy eating. She shares, “I found my first nutrition class so fascinating that I wanted to learn more about this amazing field.” It was thanks to a good friend that Rosa was introduced to the dialysis world. She remembers, “I liked it because I could see my patients often and felt I could make a difference in their lives by being available to counsel and encourage them.”
After a dozen years working with DaVita kidney patients, Rosa still finds her job rewarding. “When I see patients realize that following diet recommendations helps them experience an improvement in health, it’s very rewarding,” Rosa says, adding, “Even though patients are non-adherent at times, I enjoy the fact that they still seek my advice and when their lab results are in range, they inform me that they followed my recommendations.”
Building a rapport with her patients by listening to them and learning about their lifestyles allows Rosa to provide individualized counseling. She incorporates fun activities to get dialysis patients involved in learning about the renal diet. Playing educational games has had a lasting effect with patients. Rosa reports, “We played “Renal Jeopardy” where I asked patients dietary questions and when correctly answered, DaVita teammates responded with cheerful pompoms swinging and dancing. It was a wonderful day that the patients and teammates enjoyed immeasurably. I have never seen my patients so happy as when we performed our silly dance. Our outcomes improved as a result, and many patients are asking to have the game again.”
While Rosa has worked at other companies, she feels her DaVita center is special. “I consider myself blessed to work for DaVita and to have great teammates; it feels like an extended family. We all care about our patients in a special way. My Facility Administrator is supportive of my educational plans. I have the opportunity to develop bulletin boards, conduct silly games or present a new education idea to motivate our patients. I also volunteer to translate educational material into Spanish. These are just a few things that make my job at DaVita personally rewarding.”
Reward yourself and your guests with Rosa’s Stuffed Zucchini a la Maryam. Designed to bring back happy memories for those that are familiar with the dish or to introduce exciting new flavors to those trying this recipe for the first time.