As a child, DaVita dietitian Amy from Florida had a grandmother who made special desserts for Amy and her sister. Now that she’s adapted them to fit the kidney diet, this creative dietitian enjoys sharing recipes for Grandma Steele’s Wedding JELL-O® and Grandma Steele’s Torte with her renal patients. Anyone can treat themselves to an easy-to-make dessert thanks to Amy and her Grandma Steele.
A native of Michigan, Amy studied at Purdue University and the University of Delaware. She made the choice to become a dietitian thanks to the influence of her sister. “My sister was in healthcare, and I wanted to be like her,” Amy relates.
After working as a nutrition support dietitian, primarily in the ICU, Amy says “God opened the door to a challenging and fulfilling position with DaVita.” The challenges, Amy explains, come with remembering that each patient is unique and has different needs. “My challenge is to meet each patient at their level and proceed at their pace with their permission,” explains Amy.
By listening and encouraging her patients, Amy is able to make a difference in their lives. Asked about the approach she uses, Amy replies: “I’m not their mom and I can’t make them do anything.” But what Amy can do is introduce patients to new products, protein bars and protein drinks and share different ways to use protein mixes.
According to Amy, the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to learn from the success of others.
The rewards for this DaVita dietitian come from sharing in patients’ lives and successes. “They tell some great stories!” relates Amy. “I think it is so sweet how much our clients share their lives with the teammates. They share their vacations with us, their holidays, their birthdays and their stories. It shows not how much they like dialysis, but how much they like DaVita.”
Sometimes patients even make jokes about their health. “I asked a client why he thinks his phosphorus level was so high,” remembers Amy. “His response was ‘My kidneys don’t work.’ I think he laughed at his own joke for a week!”
Amy lives and works in central Florida and enjoys the beautiful surroundings, both outside and inside the DaVita centers. She loves the painted ceiling tiles at the South Ocala unit and the wall of phosphorus foods at the West Ocala clinic, which she calls “a super idea from our Administrative Assistant.”
Although she has been with DaVita for less than a year, one thing Amy’s learned already is that kidney disease does not discriminate – it strikes the young and old, the rich and poor, the beautiful and the average-looking.
If you, like Amy’s patients, are on the kidney diet, or if you know someone who is, be sure to check out the two dessert recipes from Amy and her Grandma Steele. They’re sure to make any day a little sweeter!