What does it mean to be a clinical dietician?
Clinical dietician is the broad category of what we do. The focus is on the medical, solving peopleâ€™s problems through evidence-based nutrition.
What do the letters RD and LD after your name stand for?
RD, Registered Dietician, is a national registration governed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. It requires a bachelorâ€™s degree, a mandated internship, and passing a standardized test. Licensed Dietician, LD, is a Minnesota state mandate to be licensed to provide â€œmedical nutrition therapy.â€
Is there demand for clinical dieticians?
I havenâ€™t done job searching in a while. In the Twin Cities we have a little saturation because we have a lot of internship programs, but then to counteract that we have several more facilities than most major metros. Most of the interns I know have good success in finding jobs.
Financially, thereâ€™s a whole spectrum of dietician opportunities. Pediatric Home Service is very clinically focused, but there are nutritionists at grocery stores, in school districts, and of course thereâ€™s the whole area of sports medicine.
Whatâ€™s your biggest challenge?
Thereâ€™s a lot of trust involved. Weâ€™re balancing whatâ€™s clinically proven through testing thatâ€™s evidence-based with what families want and choose to do. As a mother, I get it. The one thing I know I have complete control over is the nutrition of my child. We work hard at listening, doing education, bringing in clinical studies.
Whatâ€™s the best part of your job?
Watching these kids succeed. Being part of their home care team. I didnâ€™t like the hospital setting because I didnâ€™t develop relationships. Often times Iâ€™m involved with home care patients for years, and I talk to them weekly. I get Christmas cards that say, â€œthank you for listening and helping out.â€ Thatâ€™s the best thing in the world.
Whatâ€™s the secret to being great as a clinical dietician?
The first thing that pops into my mind is that a large percentage of dieticians are perfectionists. Youâ€™ll never find a more type A group of people. Really I think what makes someone a good dieticians is a level of compassion. These families have been through the wringer. In some cases, their child has been in the hospital for over two years. We meet them where theyâ€™re at. We say, â€œWeâ€™re going to get this fixed. Weâ€™ll get through it.â€
Can you share a success story?
There was a family that was using a powdered formula. Day to day care-taking was cumbersome. They didnâ€™t want to go outside the house. We changed the formula, and the mom said, â€œThis is phenomenal! All I need to do is grab this one carton! My daughter can go see her brother ride BMX. We donâ€™t have to rush back home to fix formula.â€ That small change made a huge impact.