For West Virginia native Vicki, entering the field of dietetics was an easy career choice. “I loved nutrition and nutrition courses,” she states.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University, Vicki completed her master’s degree at Virginia Tech with an emphasis on renal care. “In 1986, my master’s thesis was ‘Caloric requirements of renal patients’ and I have enjoyed working in that area since then.”
Interacting with patients is Vicki’s favorite part of the job. While she strives to be both knowledgeable and trustworthy, she also finds that a friendly, caring attitude can be just as helpful. “Sometimes patients are angry and I am able to reduce their hostility by listening to them and understanding their situation,” she says. “Patients know I care about them and want them to have a healthy life.”
Since joining the DaVita team in September 2004, Vicki has been impressed with the high level of teamwork and support at her center. “Not only do our teammates care about the patients, we also have a great help desk and a good computer system for research. Working with a team and a team concept accomplishes more for the patient.”
Vicki says that the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to “be in control of their disease.” She admits that coaching them to achieve this goal can be challenging, but seeing the rewards of “great labs” is well worth the effort.
Now you can reward yourself with one of Vicki’s favorite desserts. Try her recipe for Pretzel Salad. It’s sweet, crunchy and refreshing!