Ordering takeout is convenient, but the sodium-laden pizzas you get are not always kidney-friendly. DaVita renal dietitian Jamie from California has the perfect solution: Crispy Tortilla Pizzas that you can bake up easily in your own kitchen and enjoy without guilt, knowing they’re tasty enough for the whole family, yet healthy enough for those with kidney problems. Crispy Tortilla Pizzas are sure to become a family favorite, thanks to their hearty chicken, healthy veggies and the cheese-and-tomato flavor pizza is known for!
When dietitian Jamie from California was asked what led her to become a dietitian, she replied that she always had an interest in nutrition and liked the idea of educating people about the many areas of this field. She became a renal dietitian after first doing clinical work. “After 2-1/2 years of clinical work, I was ready for a change,” she remembers. “I also really enjoyed my dialysis rotation during my internship and was interested in learning more.”
Originally from Alton, Illinois, Jamie attended the University of Missouri Columbia and now works at a DaVita center in California. “The most challenging aspect of my job is when a patient does not want to follow their diet and make the changes they need to live a longer life,” Jamie says. “It is challenging to find ways to motivate them to want to change.”
The way Jamie tackles the challenges of her job is with kindness. “I take a friendly approach,” explains Jamie. “I believe in building a rapport or trust with the patients, and then I try to educate them on their level.” Jamie makes a difference in her patients’ lives by being there for them, whether it’s for diet education, reinforcement or just to listen.
Attitude is everything, this renal dietitian tells us. “The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is have a positive attitude” believes Jamie.
Although working with renal patients can be challenging, the successes are reason to celebrate – for both patient and dietitian. “After a lot of hard work, motivation and reinforcement, seeing a patient meet all their nutritional goals is so rewarding,” states Jamie. “I enjoy educating them and giving them all the knowledge they need to achieve their nutritional goals. And seeing them smile when they do it!”
You might not think creativity would come into play for the renal dietitian, but it does. “I have created several games/contests to give patients motivation to follow their diet and take their medication,” Jamie reveals. “Patients responded well and had fun!”
It’s been two years now since Jamie joined DaVita. She works at a center that’s conveniently located near her home, and she says the center is special, because of the patient population and the fact that they’re a teaching facility.
One thing Jamie loves about her job is the team spirit among her coworkers. “I am very lucky to work in a center where teamwork is a very high priority,” Jamie says. “We were the DQI Cup Winners one quarter last year, which represents all of our hard work and determination.” DQI stands for DaVita Quality Index, which is a score that measures how well each clinic is doing by looking at several factors regarding patient outcomes.
These past two years have been memorable ones for Jamie in many respects. “Since I started as a dietitian with DaVita, I have been blessed to meet the man of my dreams. I have also moved 3 times! Yes, 3 different places in 2 years!” Jamie exclaims. “It has been an exciting and eventful time.”
The next time you want to add some excitement to family dinner, remember Jamie’s recipe for Crispy Tortilla Pizzas. Then get ready for the compliments!