After becoming a dietitian and doing her internship, DaVita renal dietitian Beth Ann from Minnesota didn't want to be a renal dietitian. However, in one of her first jobs she worked with renal and kidney transplant patients in the hospital and became interested in the role of diet for those with kidney disease. Now, being a renal dietitian gives Beth Ann great pleasure along with the opportunity to use her two degrees to teach people about nutrition. “I hope to help my patients improve their health by teaching them about their diet,” says Beth Ann.
Having a background as a teacher has influenced how Beth Ann approaches working with her patients. “I try to individualize my approach by learning how my patients want to be educated about their labs, and what motivates them,” shares Beth Ann, adding, “I also individualize the diet as much as possible, trying to figure out how to work in favorite foods that are generally not kidney-friendly.” Although, Beth Ann says there are challenging aspects to her job such as, “coming up with new ideas to help make it easier for patients to follow their diets—especially when it comes to controlling phosphorus.” One of Beth Ann’s patients told her that when he was grocery shopping in the peanut butter aisle, he picked up a jar, thought of her and put it back on the shelf. “Good!” she told him, “I've gotten into your brain.”
Fluid control is another challenge for dialysis patients so Beth Ann came up with a creative way to demonstrate high fluid gains to her patients. “I brought in gallon milk jugs and large laundry detergent jugs filled with water. Seeing the large fluid-filled jugs was an eye-opening experience for many patients,” shares Beth Ann.
While Beth Ann initially didn't consider a career as a renal dietitian, she is surprised how much she enjoys her job after so many years. “Getting to know my patients and hearing their stories about how their health or quality of life has improved is the most rewarding aspect of my job,“ states Beth Ann. “I enjoy really getting to know more about my patients’ lives and not just their lab values.” This is a sentiment shared by many of her teammates, “We are really invested in our patients and it’s wonderful to see the relationships that develop.”
Beth Ann encourages her patients to be consistent with their dialysis treatments, take their medications as prescribed and follow their renal diet. Starting the day with Beth Ann’s Power Pancakes is highly recommended. These tasty pancakes pack a lot of protein and are quick and easy to make. Power Pancakes get an A+grade from Beth Ann’s patients and she thinks you'll enjoy them, too.