Originally from Seattle, Washington, DaVita renal dietitian Nichole now finds herself on the opposite side of the U.S. in the great state of Maryland. Educated at Washington State University (“Go Cougs!”), Nichole initially worked as an acute care dietitian. One of her responsibilities was to educate newly diagnosed end stage renal disease patients starting hemodialysis. This experience made her realize “how fascinating the renal diet was” and lead her to work as a renal dietitian. Nichole reveals, “Since starting at DaVita, I’ve realized that renal is its own world! There is so much involved to manage the care of renal patients; I had no idea.”
Nichole enjoys working with a diverse group of patients who are always excited to play games in the clinic. “I like the freedom to be creative with new activities, games, handouts and other ways to share information with patients during their dialysis treatment,” says Nichole. It’s gratifying for Nichole when her patients tell her that her renal diet instruction and education has improved their renal outcomes and made them feel better.
Individualizing care for each kidney patient is an aspect of her job that Nichole enjoys. She uses an open, helpful, caring and easygoing approach with her patients. “I share with each patient ways to live healthy and still enjoy food,” states Nicole. Her best advice to patients is to “have the right mindset of a permanent lifestyle change that becomes a realistic routine, and follow the renal regimen to live longer and feel better.”
Nichole is excited that her DaVita center is passionate about mineral and bone disorder (MBD) and supports the renal diet and educational activities to help patients better understand how important the diet is to their overall health. She sees that patients are paying more attention to their lab work. “I have a patient who is so excited about getting her labs within range—especially since her mom is now on hemodialysis and mom’s labs are all in range. My patient and her family members all call me on a regular basis to ensure that every bite of food will help improve her labs. I think it’s great that the family works together and I’m happy that they feel comfortable enough to call me to make sure they are on track with the kidney diet,” says Nicole.
Here's a recipe from Nichole that will make everyone’s taste buds happy. Asian Lettuce Wraps are a delicious treat for the entire family and are renal friendly so everyone can enjoy and keep their lab results where they need to be.