Pasta is a staple in many kitchens, and DaVita renal dietitian Jean from Colorado knows that kidney patients want to enjoy pasta entrees without feeling guilty. That’s why she adapted this wonderful recipe for Creamy Shrimp and Broccoli Fettuccine. Fettuccine is a thick, flat noodle made of egg and flour. The word fettuccine means “little ribbons” in Italian. Dietitian Jean took two recipes and combined and altered them to create a satisfying pasta dish that’s kidney-friendly, too. Her sauce is based on cream cheese and half & half that’s flavored with garlic, lemon juice, green peppercorns and red bell pepper. Scrumptious shrimp and crunchy broccoli add the finishing touches to this memorable dish.
A native of Greenville, Texas, Jean became a dietitian after a career in social work. “I was a child welfare worker, and I saw a dietitian doing skinfold measurements on one of our children in a clinic,” Jean recalls. “I thought her job looked interesting so I took a vocational interest test, and dietitian was in the top 5.”
Jean attended Hanover College in Indiana, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. When asked what led her into the renal field, Jean replies, “It seemed more interesting than many clinical dietetic specialties.”
For Jean, the most challenging aspect of her job is “figuring out how to help patients maintain a normal phosphorus level.” After a year and a half with DaVita, this renal dietitian has learned to get creative. “My patients love phosphorus bingo more than anything,” she explains.
To make a difference in patients’ lives, Jean gives them the tools and emotional support they need. “I make a difference for patients by providing them with information to keep them healthier, and by accepting them where they are when they are having difficulty with all the diet restrictions. I meet them with understanding of their lives rather than judgment,” says Jean.
The most rewarding aspect of Jean’s job is interacting with her patients on a regular basis. “I think I most enjoy seeing patients 3 times a week and hearing about not only their diet struggles, but their lives. I like getting to know them. They are wonderful, interesting people,” states Jean.
“I think the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to stay active,” says Jean.
When asked what she enjoys about working for DaVita, Jean replies, “I like all the resources they have for dietitians, like the DaVita Diet Helper tool. I like it that dietitians are well-supported by DaVita. I enjoy working for a company that likes to have fun, like at the 3 Musketeers night we had in Denver recently. I took a friend who had never been around DaVita people, and she could not believe they gave out hats and swords, and then had a funny skit about the founding of the company - all while enjoying magnificent food and drinks. She said, ‘Your company really likes to have a good time, doesn't it?’”
Jean goes on to say, “I’ve been surprised to learn that a successful company like ours can have events like the one described above where people can act silly, wave our swords around, make a lot of noise and it’s all good. It seems somehow to make us stronger, but I am not sure how.”
There’s no doubt that DaVita teammates bond with their patients. “One of our nurses was transferring to a DaVita out of state,” Jean remembers. “Some of the patients got together and, on her last day, gave her baskets of food and goodies for the car trip. It was really touching to see how much she had touched their lives by looking at the thoughtful things they brought her for her trip.”
Jean works at the DaVita center in Lakewood, Colorado, which she says is a special place. “Our team makes us special – a bunch of dedicated, take-action people,” states Jean. Plus, she likes the location. “We are near the very popular area of Lakewood.”
Running out of ideas for family dinners? Take a tip from DaVita renal dietitian Jean and try her delicious, kidney-friendly Creamy Shrimp and Broccoli Fettuccine. Everyone will rave about your newest pasta dish, and no one will have to forego healthy eating thanks to this renal-friendly entrée.
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