What’s so great about this Hawaiian Chicken Salad Sandwich? Well, it’s not just any old chicken sandwich. First of all, it was created by DaVita renal dietitian, Linda from Michigan, when she was hungry and felt like experimenting with renal-friendly sandwich ideas that packed a protein punch. Linda’s sandwich is nutritious, simple and, best of all, delicious with crunchy veggies, pineapple, chicken and dressing all in a tortilla wrap.
From her family’s small farm in mid-state Michigan, Linda attended Michigan State University and graduated summa cum laude. Her career choice of renal dietitian allows her the opportunity to help patients learn how to eat nutritiously and appropriately for kidney disease and other health conditions.
Since 2005, Linda has worked with her DaVita team, helping patients understand how lab values can show trouble areas such as: high phosphorus, high potassium or low albumin (a protein that tells if a person has enough nutrition). The problem with out-of-range lab values is that even though someone may feel fine, there will be problems soon if steps aren’t taken to get the lab values in a healthier range. Coaching patients to make better food choices when they feel fine but their lab results are showing trouble is a challenge for Linda.
For Linda, the challenges also come with great rewards. “The most rewarding part of my job is caring for others,” she says. “Sometimes there is no one else to care for patients, or provide listening and encouragement. I most enjoy working with patients who share their knowledge and life’s experiences. I am grateful to work with dialysis patients who inspire me with their words of wisdom, war stories of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam, and share profound philosophies.”
Linda has discovered that trying new ways of teaching can really help motivate patients. She says, “An approach that has proved effective is role-reversal and role-playing, such as having the patient tell me, as though I were the patient, what will happen to me, what foods to include or exclude, and what risks are associated with unhealthy labs.”
In addition to looking for new ways to teach her patients, Linda also decided to teach herself something to help them. She reveals, “I taught myself Spanish to help my Spanish-only speaking patients try to get 100% on their lab reports. What fun it was teaching myself a language and having the patients and others laugh at me for a while. But it all turned out perfectly when my bilingual patients told me my Spanish was ‘pretty good.’”
According to Linda, “The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is listen to the DaVita teammates who provide ongoing care and education. Linda says, “I try to provide patients with diplomatic and genuine interactions to help them stick to or change their programs.”
In addition to interacting with her patients, Linda appreciates the opportunities at DaVita. She says, “What I enjoy most about working for DaVita is my flexible schedule, and having three clinics with diverse client populations. Each day is a new opportunity to help others. It can be as easy as a smile or a pat on a patient’s hand. Teammates are like family, here at DaVita. We have a new facility administrator in one clinic, and he has been inspiring and encouraging. His leadership is going to be a great asset to all.”
Here’s an asset for your recipe box that may very well turn into a favorite lunch. When you’re looking for something new in a sandwich, try a wrap that delivers maximum nutrition and big island flavor, Linda’s Hawaiian Chicken Salad Sandwich.