My RD Journey

From Undergrad -> Internship -> RD -> Private Practice!

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My First (Horrible) Experience with a CPE Seminar

As part of keeping your Dietitian title/license, you need to complete continuing education credits (75 over 5 years). It’s pretty standard for many other medical/health professionals as well (Pharmacists, RNs, OTs, PTs, etc). I have been leaning towards a mix of webinars, self-study courses, and lectures to gain credits. It works the best for me with having 2 jobs and an overall busy schedule.

Recently, I went to a seminar called, “Food Addiction, Obesity, and Diabetes,” provided by INR. I was super excited! It was going to cover overeating, binge eating disorders, managing food addiction, managing Diabetes, sleep, stress, and so much more. It would also be my first seminar and it was $81 for 6 credits, which isn’t too bad at all! Anyways, I made the 45 minute drive and attended with another Dietitian friend of mine. Let me just say, thank goodness for the free coffee and company or I would not have made it through the lecture. What a disappointment!

First of all, the lecturer (we will call her Dr. X) started late. Big pet peeve of mine! So, Dr. X does the introductions and starts off with the food addiction. She used a ton of medical terminology and definitely seemed liked she was very knowledgable. May I just say that “seemed” is the key word here. We get into food addiction, all very interesting; however, we are not following along in the 41 page (front and back) booklet I have, which apparently was due to someone different writing the slides. Anyways, Dr. X quotes a ton of research articles, which is great, except it takes an extra couple minutes for her to locate each one. This might sound great to you because she is using evidenced based research; however, for each claim she had 1 article and only read a few lines in the summary (not mentioning those involved in the study and other information you would want to know). Still not a big deal until we get to the first break and we are already very behind, aka we were supposed to had moved on to obesity and were still on the first section of the first topic!

As we get back from the first break, me with more coffee, I start to notice that when anyone asks a question, she gives a politician answer. By that I mean, she does not actually answer the question. Dr. X gave this round about answer quoting another 1-2 studies (spending the time to again find them) and leaving many people frustrated. We again continue to trudge along and make it to the lunch break. At this point, I notice that we are still not through part 1 (supposed to be on part 2 of 4) and that we spent so much time on the super science part (aka names of specific hormones and transporters) that I didn’t feel like I learned anything useful/practical yet.

So, my RD friend and I head to the in-hotel dining area, where lunch is not provided (my mistake for thinking my $81 also extended to lunch). Here we have another depressing scene: $7.95 for cold salad bar and soup or $12-something for the hot bar. Now, I am starving and want to check out the menu for the hot bar. We have vegetables (nothing fancy), bratwurst and cabbage (oh yum), chicken schnitzel, and potatoes with bacon. Glad I looked because chicken schnitzel means breaded chicken patties that you would expect to find in a school lunch program.  I went with the soup and salad bar, which actually had a lot of options, and a lovely dessert of fresh fruit and a cookie (very good). It seems lunch was looking like the highlight; however, I go in open-minded to our second half of the day.

In talking about diets, Dr. X mentions the diet fads; one of which is the Paleo diet. Her take on this is that we shouldn’t tell people to cut out food groups because it does not work long-term. I generally don’t tell people to start cutting things out in counseling either. Dr. X goes on to say that Paleo dieters cut out grains/carbohydrates, using those terms interchangeably. I have a few issues with this. One of which is that not all carbohydrates are grains (aka fruits). Also, many Paleo diet followers (many RDs I follow online) are more-so cutting back on the breads and pastas and aiming for majority of carbohydrates from fruits and veggies. Nothing wrong with that!

Right after saying not to cut foods out, Dr. X answers a question regarding red meat. Here Dr. X states to not eat the red meat because of it having saturated fat. My issue is meat quality. Grass-fed beef is way better than conventional fed meat (fed grains).  To quote Mayo Clinic: Grass-fed beef has,” less total fat, more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acid (thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks), and more antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.”

My last remaining hope died with Dr. X’s statement towards Diabetic meal plans. She quotes this (apparently from the American Diabetes Association) in terms of macronutrient distribution, “50-60% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 10% fat.” What?! The AMDR for fat is 20-35% so 10% is way too low. What Dr. X might have meant to say was the American Diabetes Association recommends less than 10% from saturated fats. What frustrated me the most is that people in the lecture were taking notes and writing down things she said. This misinformation turns into what health professionals are then spreading!

Quick note: I am 6 cups of coffee in for the day (one of the best parts of the lecture was the unlimited coffee). We are getting to the last hour of the seminar and we have 3 parts still to go over! Dr. X decides it is a good idea to have no more questions from the group and to blow through about 25 pages (front and back) of information in an hour. Well, that didn’t turn out well. The seminar contained a lot of good information; however, I have to read through and learn it on my own. Part of attending a seminar is so you don’t have to spend extra time teaching yourself!

Besides my unlimited coffee for the day, one other benefit was that they had discounted self-study courses. I was able to buy 2 at $10 each (3 credits each) and one at $25 (5 credits). Great deals on interesting CPEs that I can use. Just as a disclaimer, I spoke to another Dietitian who attended the same seminar in another location and she had a much better experience than I did. I apparently just got the bad apple of the lecturers. Looks like I will be sticking to my self-study courses and webinars from now on 🙂

To end on a positive note, I went to my Dietitian meeting today and got a King Trumpet mushroom!


My Top Webinars/Self-Study Courses


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Job Searching, New Career, and New Stage of Life!

It’s been quite a while since I made my last blog post. I could say life got in the way; however, it was really that nothing too crazy happened to want to write about. Just being honest 🙂 So, quick recap is: I passed my RD exam, got my PA state license ($65), renewed my PA state license (another $65), applied for a bunch of jobs (most of which said they wanted people with their RD title for more than a year aka NO), paid for an Adult Weight Management Online Self-Study Module (through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for 16 credits), looked at the first section of the module because it is super long, brainstormed some blog ideas, looked into private counseling, worked my current job, did some webinars for free CPE credits, went on a few vacations, and lastly….got a job!

I’m pretty excited about that last part, not only for the nice pay increase from my current position at the YMCA, but also, it was exactly what I was looking for! I will be a part-time retail dietitian at my local supermarket. The position will also be heading towards full-time in the Fall/Winter when the programs get up and running. The RD will do everything from counseling to store nutrition tours to kid’s day events.  I really love working in the community and doing so many different things each day. I hate the whole 9 to 5 boring job routine. I like that I will be doing tons of different programs with all ages and stages of life. The job is also super flexible (I will eventually be creating my own schedule), I will be doing a lot independently (good thing I am a go-getter/self-motivated type of person), I get the opportunity to network with other RDs in the surrounding supermarkets, and I will be doing what I love 🙂 Today’s Dietitian sums up the role of a supermarket dietitian pretty well (for those of you who aren’t sure what they do). The supermarket I will be at had 26 events last month, so I will definitely be a busy bee until I find my own routine.

So, how am I feeling about my new job and starting tomorrow? I am obviously very excited and anxious to just get in and get started. I am also a wee bit overwhelmed. There is a lot that goes on each week and besides all the events, I also schedule counseling, store tours, additional classes, and answer customer nutrition questions. It is also a new atmosphere with tons of new faces (been at my current job for 9 years so I pretty much know everyone and everything there is) and I don’t really have an idea of what I will be doing every day. Like, how will I structure my day? I will be the only RD in the store, so it is not like I will be trained by the person in the position last. I am so grateful that I will get the opportunity to head to 2 other stores this week and meet the RDs there. I have a huge list of questions I want to ask them! I am very glad I have had experience running programs, creating materials, and working with the public at my current job. I feel like that is giving me a great basis for my new position.

I don’t know if this is job where I will be forever (still keeping my YMCA position), but who knows! I am definitely leaning towards becoming a private practice RD. And by leaning towards, I mean I want to do it and get started, I am just slacking a bit 🙂 It is a bit overwhelming to learn about everything you need to do to get started in private practice! I just need to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps (instead of avoiding getting started..haha). This will be something I will be getting back to in future blog posts.

I feel like I am at the stage in my life where all my friends and acquaintances are either having babies, getting married, or getting their career job. I mentioned this to my boyfriend this past weekend and his response was that I am now in this crowd with my new position.  It feels a bit weird to me. I mean you go through college, finish an internship, take a test, but I don’t think it really hits you until you land that first job or just do something with your new title (like start a private practice). I feel like I am finally spreading my wings at a place that will give me the tools and knowledge to make even more of an impact on people (and way more people that is). But anyways, moving on from my emotional part of this blog 🙂 Stay tuned for my upcoming blog posts on: “My First Week as a Supermarket Dietitian” and “Dietitian You Say? That Means You Make Meal Plans.” (I am especially excited about writing that last one)!