Guest Post: The Hardest Lesson

Hi everyone! I am currently cruising around the Caribbean on vacation. While I am away, Molly over at RD Exposed was awesome enough to provide a guest post here at RDelicious Kitchen. She is a Registered Dietitian and has provided her insight on what it’s like in the real world as a RD. It was interesting to read her point of view since I will be completing my dietetic internship this November. Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter for my GNU Bar Giveaway!!

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Each year, nutrition students enter their first year of college in high hopes of starting a revolution on the way that the world eats. They are prepared to do a complete overhaul on each person’s diet that they come into contact with.

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And then they get into the real world and are faced with all the barriers and resistance of clients and patients. You meet a single mom with 2 kids who works 2 full-time jobs just to try to make ends meet. She has now been diagnosed with diabetes and needs to start taking care of herself, but she is struggling to get away long enough to eat during her 14 hour work days. She feels that she doesn’t have time to carb count her meals and snacks, just the thought is stressing her out.

You then meet a woman who is trying to take care of her mother-in-law with dementia who lives with her and her family, she just lost her job, and her son may be facing jail time. What do you mean you haven’t been choosing the right snacks to help lower your cholesterol?

As a registered dietitian, I wish each person could truly make nutrition and lifestyle changes and pull a 180 on their health, but there are people who’s last priority is nutrition. And sometimes for good reason. This is one of the hardest lessons for a dietetic student and new dietitian to learn.

As a person entering the nutrition work force, you must build up your compassion for clients and patients. When faced with a client or patient in a difficult situation, there are a few things to you can do to make a realistic impact.

1. Find out their health and nutrition priorities, goals, and concerns.

2. Look for simple changes.

3. Focus on one change per month or even one change every 6 months. Consider making a simple, organized list for them.

4. Give direct recommendations. Don’t over complicate things.

5. Build them up! They must have self-efficacy to execute changes.

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