DaVita dietitian, Kristy’s, interest and personal relationship with food started at an early age. “I’ve been interested in nutrition since high school,” shares Kristy, adding, “I was very involved in sports and realized how much the food I ate affected my performance and energy level. I wanted to continue to learn about the impact of the food we eat and educate others.”
After studying nutrition at Bluffton College in Ohio, Kristy joined DaVita. “I was led into the renal field by a friend of mine who works for DaVita and encouraged me to apply,” admits Kristy.
Working with dialysis patients has been an educational experience for Kristy. “Before working with DaVita, I didn’t realize how important diet is to renal patients.”
Having an optimistic outlook is a key ingredient to healthy living. Kristy prides herself on her bedside manor. “I enjoy brightening my patient’s days in some small way,” reveals Kristy. She believes, “Keeping a positive attitude is the most important thing a patient can do to improve their health.”
Adapting to the limitations of a kidney-friendly diet takes a lot of effort for most patients. Balancing phosphorous and potassium levels are a large task in which Kristy and all DaVita dietitians take special interest. In addition to the medical care and education Kristy offers her patients, she wants to also provide a human touch. According to Kristy, “I make a difference in my patients’ lives by just letting them know that I’m here for them. That I’m on their side.”
Dialysis treatment not only challenges patients, but it also challenges renal dietitians. “It can be difficult coming up with new ways to motivate my patients, but when a patient improves his or her lab values and feels better because of it, I have my reward,” says Kristy.
Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Sometimes it’s the play that really helps patients understand their diet. “My patients love the Phosphorus Bingo game. It helps them pass the time on dialysis, have a little fun and maybe even learn something, too!” shares Kristy.
Kristy has become an important and appreciated member of her DaVita team in the four years since she started at her clinic. “I enjoy working for DaVita because the focus on ‘team’,” says Kristy, adding, “We have a very close facility with great teamwork.”
This Hearty Chicken Soup recipe is a hit with Kristy’s fellow teammates, especially the center’s social worker, Linda. This kidney-friendly recipe is low in potassium, phosphorus and sodium for dialysis patients; just make sure to count the fluid. Try Kristy’s Hearty Chicken Soup. It’s an easy-to-make, nutritious, delicious, well-balanced meal — all in one bowl!