Susan from Oregon has been a DaVita dietitian for 3-1/2 years and in the renal field for more than 6 years. Previously, Susan had a diabetes education business that led her to look for additional part-time work with kidney patients. Working at DaVita lets Susan fulfill the reason she became a dietitian. “I wanted a preventive health and one-on-one form of teaching,” says Susan, adding, “I love being able to see patients regularly and develop long-term relationships.”
When it comes to helping patients find success on the renal diet, Susan says, “I like to relate to how the patient likes to eat and encourage them to change as little as necessary to accomplish their goals.” According to Susan there are definite pitfalls for patients on a kidney diet, “The most challenging aspect of my job is helping patients maintain good phosphorus levels, when our food supply is so full of phosphorus additives.”
Using her natural creativity to find new ways to teach patients and teammates is fun for Susan. One effective teaching tool is her DaVita center’s “Dietitians Best Finds”—a bulletin board featuring empty boxes, jars and food labels accompanied by a dietitian’s photo and quote about each products’ benefits.
Making a difference in her patients’ lives brings Susan personal satisfaction. She states, “I help my patients find ways to take control of their health when they have seemingly lost so much control of their lives.” One funny story Susan recalls that illustrates this is of a new patient who was eager to meet with her. Susan remembers, “On her first day of dialysis, this patient had a million questions about what she could or couldn’t eat. I gave her piles of papers to review at her leisure. The next time I saw her, she had 3 pages of scribbled food items that she wanted me to tell her were okay or not on the renal diet and why. Things on the list included 7 different oriental cabbages, shark meat, octopus, exotic fruits, etc.—I could find no rhyme or reason to her selections. After I spent an hour and a half looking up foods I had never heard of and scribbling notes onto her pages, I took the wrinkled pages back to her and asked, ‘Do you really eat all of these foods?’ Her reply: ‘OMG, no! I just thought if I have to give up so many foods, I better start looking for new ones.”
Perhaps the single most important advice Susan has for her patients is, “Go natural! Eat food the way God made it as much as possible.” This isn't always easy to do in our packaged food society, so Susan is sharing a simple, tasty high quality protein recipe that takes only a few minutes to make. Give Susan’s No Fuss Microwave Egg White French Toast a try for breakfast. Already had breakfast? Whip up this recipe and place it in the refrigerator for a delicious bread pudding treat later.