Strawberries and cinnamon baked in a golden-brown loaf — bet you’d love a slice right now. Gaye from Tennessee is a DaVita renal dietitian who knows how to make scrumptious foods easy to make. Gaye’s recipe for Strawberry Bread yields two loaves — one to keep, and one to give away.
Back in Jackson, Tennessee, Gaye wanted to be in a service business and says she loved interacting with people. “My teacher for eighth and ninth grades told me to pick a major in the home economics field and I would always have a job. My mother was a nurse and although I didn’t want to be a nurse, I was interested in working in a hospital.”
Gaye remembers, “After graduating from the University of Tennessee, I worked all over — in Charleston, Daytona Beach, Greenville and Bedford, Texas. I was brought back to Tennessee from Oklahoma City when I saw an ad on the web for a DaVita renal dietitian position. I wanted to be back in Tennessee, so that if my parents needed help in their later years I would be there for them. I had already worked with renal patients in a hospital setting and really loved the challenge.”
Making the move has been a positive experience for Gaye as she enjoys what she does. “The most rewarding part of my job is being a part of patients’ lives and having the opportunity to positively impact them. I try to make a difference by greeting each patient by name and learning about their lives outside of dialysis. I always try to follow up each time I am at their clinic. I enjoy being able to help these wonderful people be successful with their lives and manage chronic kidney disease,” she says.
Knowing how difficult the dialysis diet can be and how important food is in our lives, Gaye is realistic about setting expectations for her patients. “I try to be realistic, and help patients set goals they are willing to tackle. I try to be creative and think outside the box to discover what works for each individual. The most important things patients can do to improve their health are to think about what they choose to eat and make logical choices knowing that some days’ choices are not as helpful as other days’. They can strive for the best effort at the next meal. People still need to enjoy life — and eating favorite foods is an enjoyment people need,” she says.
Besides educating and coaching her patients in the traditional ways, Gaye looks for new ways to help her patients enjoy the dialysis diet. “Each month I print DaVita.com recipes and give patients a menu for the month. They like having recipes to try, which gives them a choice of something different to fix and eat,” she shares.
Gaye knows she has connected with her patients, even if they don’t call her by name. “I am known as ‘Good Morning’ by the Monday-Wednesday-Friday patients at one of my clinics. I come to the treatment floor each morning saying, ‘Good Morning,’ so one day, when a patient couldn’t remember my name, he asked, ‘Where is Good Morning?’ Now I’m just called ‘Good Morning Dietitian,’” she smiles.
“I started working at DaVita in September 2006. I truly appreciate the teammates I work with, plus all the fabulous resources and support provided by DaVita. Plus, we are a Village, not a company; an approach to operation I had not been exposed to previously.”
Gaye’s Strawberry Bread is an old-fashioned favorite and a real treat for those on a kidney-friend diet. Substituting Splenda® for sugar will make it a taste treat those on a diabetes-dialysis diet can enjoy.