Want to know how to turn a ho-hum burger into a superstar? Shelbie from Texas discovered the secret when she added red pepper, garlic powder and green chile to ground beef, and made her tasty Super Burgers. As a dietitian Shelbie not only provides education to her patients, but also enjoys sharing her knack for creative cooking.
Early on, Shelbie noticed that most of her college research papers revolved around nutrition. Following that lead, she decided to take a basic nutrition course and loved it. She soon switched her major to dietetics.
Born in Blackfoot, Idaho, Shelbie graduated from Idaho State University in Pocatello. “My internship was composed of clinical, community and management rotations. The first day I spent in the dialysis center, I went home and told my husband I wanted to be a renal dietitian.”
Three years ago, Shelbie moved to Texas. “The most challenging part of my job is working the traditional Latino foods into the renal diet and keeping patient lab results in check. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing nutrition at work. We are taught in school how important nutrition is to overall health and in dialysis you see this over and over again every month via labs and how patients feel after making changes in their diet.”
Making a difference in patients’ lives is a matter of giving them lots of comfort knowing they are not alone, according to Shelbie. “The renal diet is complex, and having me help with questions and concerns keeps people motivated and puts their minds at ease. I make sure every patient has my business card and can call me whenever. They’ve even called me from the grocery store and when cooking a meal. I try not to focus too much on the dont's but more on the dos and things they can have.”
“The best part about working with patients is the knowledge I gain from them. Many have been on dialysis 10-plus years and have some great ideas. If it’s feasible, the best thing anyone can do for their health is stay active. Dialysis can be tiring, but the people who start walking 10 to 20 minutes a day notice a big improvement in the way they feel.”
While dialysis is serious business, patients and teammates like to lighten things up at times. “To keep things fun, we recently implemented the ‘DaVita Raffle’ based on nutritional lab results. Tickets are awarded on results and placed in a large bowl that we draw from to win prizes donated by our sales representatives. I love the teamwork approach and how DaVita teammates pull together.”
Shelbie knew she was in a special place on her first day at work. “I sat down at my desk, looked up at my cork board and read a note that a patient had written that said: ‘I was touched by angels eight months ago when I was sent to this dialysis clinic with a very bad case of anemia due to kidney failure. I was so weak I could hardly walk or get up from a chair and the bus driver had to use the lift to get me inside the bus. Yesterday I became 90-years old and I feel like 60 after taking 98 dialysis treatments. I never believed in angels before, but now I believe the doctor, nurses, dietitian and technicians are angels. So I say to the world, I was touched by angels.’” Shelbie concludes, “This really hit it home.”
Try Shelbie’s Super Burgers in your home tonight. You can even freeze extra patties and have them ready to microwave into a meal within minutes.