Salmon is one of the healthiest fish choices you can make due to its high omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and promote heart health. Thanks to DaVita dietitian Lisa from New York, you can enjoy salmon with flavors and nutritional benefits and kicked up a notch with rosemary, lemon, capers and wine. It’s so easy to prepare, you don’t even have dishes to clean afterwardsl!
A native of Staten Island, New York, Lisa became attracted to the renal field, because of the hours – but she says she stays because of her patients! A graduate of Hunter College in Manhattan, Lisa has been with DaVita for nine years.
Lisa's passion for helping others serves her well in her job as a renal dietitian, as she works hard to teach her patients what they can do to support their own health. "The most important things kidney patients can do to improve their health are to adhere to their diet and medications and never give up on themselves," Lisa says.
It's obvious when talking to Lisa that she has the utmost respect for her patients, and we imagine the feeling is mutual. "They are a great group of people with a lot of courage," she says of her patients at the DaVita center where she lives. “I try to encourage them as I know their illness has many aspects and they are trying very hard to understand the illness and their diet.”
Lisa's approach to her work at DaVita is straightforward and compassionate. "I try to interpret the renal diet in the simplest language possible, giving ideas on how to implement it and encouragement along the way," Lisa explains. "I try to put myself in my patients' place and remember how difficult keeping track of all the many things they need to remember must be." Lisa is always trying to find new ways to address her patient’s food issues. She likes to equip her patients with tools they can use for eating success, including providing them with a shopping list of kidney-friendly foods that fit into their eating plans.
With all of the many ideas she needs to incorporate into her monthly teachings, it's a challenge for this renal dietitian to cover it all with her patients, but the results are well worth the effort. "The most rewarding part of my job is when a patient's lab results improve, because of my contribution," Lisa reveals.
Doing the hard work of a renal dietitian is easier when you've got a supportive group of team members by your side. "Working at DaVita, I'm part of a network of dietitians who are wonderful people, really wanting to help the patients and always willing to lend a helping hand," Lisa observes. One thing that Lisa has noted since coming to DaVita is that "working with a team produces a much better result than working alone."
Not only does Lisa have a positive impact on her patient’s lives, she also works with her teammates to improve health. “Most recently our team decided to start a Biggest Loser contest. We are now in our second month and have collectively lost 80 pounds!" says Lisa. “Teammates are walking on their lunch hour, bringing their lunches….in fact for our monthly party to celebrate birthdays we were served berries! The sugary desserts lay on the table now for days because few people are eating them. We have all benefited from this contest.”
"My coworkers are very special," Lisa asserts. "They care about their patients and will bring concerns to me or the social worker if they see a need. Many of them participate in charities outside of DaVita, as well as attending the NKF walk in Manhattan each year. My FA has been a participant in DaVita’s Bridge of Life, and my Medical Director is readily available to the patients and has won the Dr. Pepper award. Our Nursing Care Coordinator works extremely hard. Our SW team is on the ball, and my teammate and fellow renal dietitian is excellent. The team and the patients are why I enjoy coming to work every day!"
Even with the difficult tasks they face each day, Lisa says her coworkers manage to maintain their sense of humor. "They are a great team!" she says of them. Lisa also likes the fact that the center where she works is very convenient to her home, only 10 minutes away, so she doesn't have to spend a lot of time commuting like so many other New Yorkers.
Asked about red-letter moments since starting work with DaVita, Lisa recalled one very special day. "We had a patient attend one of our functions. He was a very sweet, elderly patient in a wheelchair who came to the event with one of his family," Lisa recalls. "We were all very sad when two months later, he became very sick and passed away. We were touched to read his obituary, which said that one of the most recent highlights in his life was attending our outing!" It seems like knowing, and working with, the DaVita team can make for some sweet memories.
The next time you're looking for a quick meal packed with nutrition and flavor, give Lisa's kidney-friendly Fast and Flavorful Salmon a try. Then get ready for the compliments!