Although Carol has only been with DaVita for five months, her interest in dietetics actually began years ago. “I have loved food and been interested in nutrition for as long as I can remember,” Carol shares. “My mom was ahead of her time in cooking with whole foods and paying attention to nutrients. When I found out there were jobs for people like that, I was immediately interested.”
Carol grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch near Malta, Montana and later attended Montana State University in Bozeman. She says she became attracted to renal dietetics because of its complex challenges and the opportunity to work with patients over an extended period of time. “I enjoy their wit and wisdom and their great ideas about modifying favorite foods to the renal diet.” She says she also enjoys “their frequent reminders to ‘lighten up’, and the way they can laugh at themselves.”
Carol’s approach with patients is positive and purposeful. She believes in being flexible and listening while also giving them sound advice. “The most important things patients can do to improve their health,” Carol says, “is being as physically active as their medical condition allows, in addition to controlling their diet and fluid intake.”
Work as a dietitian offers both rewards and challenges according to Carol. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the amazing mix of courage, resourcefulness, humor and perseverance that is called out in some patients and their families in response to living with a chronic illness. The most challenging aspect is trying to find the combination of interventions that will educate and motivate patients to make good lifestyle choices so that they will be healthier, feel better and live longer.”
One of the lifestyle choices patients can make is to eat healthier, so here is Carol’s contribution to good eating—Crunchy Couscous Salad. Just add some cooked chicken breast chunks or slices and you’ve got a delicious light lunch or supper.