My RD Journey

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


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Dietitian Q & A – Offices, Marketing, & More

Welcome back to MyRDJourney! Things have been going well around here. I’ve gained quite a few new clients with the weather breaking and more people ready to get back into the swing of healthy eating. I have a walking group launching in April and I am so excited for it! I spent some of my downtime this past month re-evaluating my business and deciding what my next “move” will be. I like what I am currently doing; however, some of the parts I love are the in-home cooking sessions and personal training. I really want to work on promoting and building up that aspect of my business this year.

Today’s post is a bit of a Q&A based on the top 5 questions I get from fellow Dietitians who are just starting out in private practice. Let’s get started!

How Do You See Clients if You Don’t Have an Office Yet?
There are a couple of options for this one. You can do in-home counseling sessions (if insurance allows), which means you go directly to your client’s home. Some perks to this would be that it is more comfortable for the client, client’s can show you products they have in their home, and you may even end up with less cancellations. Some cons to this are that you will be doing more traveling so scheduling your clients geographical smart is key. You can read more about in-home counseling here. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, you could look at shared office space (cuts down on the cost). You could also check out co-working spaces where you can rent office space for an hour or two (way cheaper than a lease + more flexible). Another option is to join your local Chamber of Commerce as many of them will allow you to use office space as apart of your membership. Lastly, you can do virtual consultations, which is very convenient; however, if you take insurance, a lot of plans don’t cover this just yet.

How Do You Get Started with Marketing Your Business in Your Community?
The first place I started with was Google. Literally. I Googled every business in my area and made a list of those who aligned with my mission. I reached out to some through email and then followed up with a call. Other businesses I just showed up and dropped off promo materials (newsletters, business cards, flyers for events I was hosting, freebies, etc). Depending on the business, an email is more appropriate first since the person you may need to talk to may not actually be available for drop-ins. You can always schedule an in-person meeting once you make that first contact. You can read more on building partnerships here.

How Do You Advertise Your Business?
Outside of what I mentioned above, I would strongly suggest an online presence in the form of a website and at least one social media platform. I consistently use Facebook & Instagram. One big thing to keep in mind is where your ideal client is hanging around. Are they using YouTube? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? No matter what platform you use, remember to be consistent with your messaging and when you post (even if it is just once per week to start).

How Do You Figure Out Your Appointment Structure?
Honestly, getting your counseling flow can take a bit of practice and even with that, you are bound to have a client through you off. Most of my counseling sessions start off with me asking the client, “Are there any initial questions you have?” (initial) or “How have things been going?” (follow-up) or “What would you like to gain from today’s session?” (initial or follow-up). Usually, clients will jump into a story or a bunch of questions, which is great! Sometimes, I have clients who are a bit unsure of what to ask or even how this interaction should go, especially if they are new to seeing a Dietitian. From there, I take the reins and start with a 24-hour recall. We then talk about where they see possible areas of improvement or positive aspects of their diet already. That is usually the first 30 minutes right there. At this point, I stop and ask if they have any questions. Depending on the time, I talk about other things besides food like exercise, fluid, sleep habits, and even family expectations. If we don’t cover this in the first session, I always weave it into the first follow-up. I end all of my sessions with goal setting and acknowledgement of possible barriers (so we can make a plan around them). All of my clients get a physical recommendation sheet with their goals and action items so they can post it as a reminder to themselves.

How Do You Go About Taking Insurance?
First things first is you want to create an account on CAQH ProView. This is going to take you a while, but it is worth it! You basically put in all of your information as a Dietitian and business owner. Once you have that completed, you will use your ID number for individual insurance companies. What I mean by this is that every insurance has its own form for becoming a provider. I started by Googling “become a provider for ______ (insert insurance company name here).” Usually, the individual insurance forms are shorter since most of your information is in the CAQH. Once you submit the provider interest form or application for each insurance company, you will be contacted by the contracting department to do all the signing. Getting in network with insurance is a lengthy process, so I would highly suggest getting started sooner rather than later if you are going this route.

This surely wasn’t an exhaustive list of all Dietitian questions, so feel free to email me or schedule a Free Coaching call via my website for anything you are wondering about!

If you are new to private practice, check out my blog on The First 10 Steps to Getting Started, which covers professional liability insurance, deciding pricing and more.

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A Week in the Life of a Private Practice Dietitian

When I first started brainstorming my blog for the month, I was planning a “day in the life” post. I realized that this wouldn’t truly be representative of what I do as a private practice dietitian since every day is different. Here’s a little peek into what this past week looked like for me. I hope this is helpful for someone thinking about private practice and what that looks like (or if you are just plain curious).

Background
My weeks will vary based on client cancellations/reschedules or new partnerships/appointments. There also tends to be an eb and flow with private practice based on the seasons (i.e. more clients in Jan, Feb, April, May, Sept, and Oct). I also primarily see clients in-home with the occasional on-site appointment for employees of businesses that I work with. Mixed into that are various classes (cooking or virtual). My income isn’t solely based on insurance, which is a good thing and outside of what I mentioned before, I also sell hats on Etsy and lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Most days, I am up by either 6am (teaching days) or 7am. If I see morning clients, they are typically 10am or later. I spend the majority of my morning hours planning out my day, prepping last minute for an appointment, answering emails, and returning voicemails. I also don’t always note this below, but I do spend some time keeping up with social media for my business (Instagram on the day-to-day) and hanging with the BF. Besides having a private practice, I also teach part-time at a local community college. I am also the Community Liaison for the Greater Holmesburg Business Association, which means I am apart of event planning and managing their social media (i.e. Facebook).

Monday
The first couple hours of my Monday were spent on the phone with an insurance company that I had been battling with since last JULY. I had 8 claims denied due to an error in their system (saying I was out of network when I wasn’t). While on hold, I planned out my to-do list for the day, wrote an outline for a class I was running that night, scheduled a newsletter for my virtual class, and answered some emails. After an hour and a half on the phone, I finally had confirmation that they were paying out! I’m only partially celebrating until I get that check in my hand.

Mid-afternoon, I went to the gym with my Dad, which ended up being about an hour. Once home, I quickly ate and started getting myself together for a new client in-home fitness assessment. The assessment ended up being about an hour and a half, even though I only blocked off an hour. That was totally my fault since I am still working on my personal training flow and ultimately being more efficient. Once home, I grabbed a small snack before my 6pm virtual Healthy Habit Jump-Start class started. I had originally planned to do a virtual workout at 7pm; however, by the time I finished up my class and tried to log-in, it was past 7pm (and I hate showing up late, even if it is virtual). I spent another hour or so creating a landing page for my new walking group (created this after feedback from my class). Finished up the day by making dinner and knitting.

Tuesday
I teach an 8am face-to-face nutrition class on campus at my local community college on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This particular Tuesday was a faculty meeting, so I stayed after class and did some reading on the latest fitness research while I biked at the gym. Made it back home around 2pm, ate and then headed out for a night in-home session. Usually, my in-home sessions are always an hour. I try to do my charting and billing right after the appointment, so it is doesn’t pile up and seem so overwhelming. I had a little bit more time this night to cook, so I prepped for tofu and veggies for the next few days.

Wednesday
I was up at 7am this day and answered emails and returned calls. I also packed my lunch for Thursday and then headed out for an in-home appointment. After the session, I went straight to the grocery store to buy stuff for myself and also for the cooking demo I was running Thursday. Came back, charted, ate lunch and brainstormed my new walking group I am planning to launch in May. Then, I had a video call in the afternoon with a fellow Dietitian. We typically chat every month or so to catch up on our businesses and lives in general. This particular call was about an hour and a half. Went to the gym right after (again with my Dad). Once I got home, I spent a good 2 hours prepping for my cooking demo (muffins and chia jam). Ended the night with some dinner and of course, knitting.

Thursday
This was probably my busiest day for the week. I had class in the morning, followed by office hours (that no one ever comes to). I typically use my office hours to grade papers/quizzes and lesson plan for the following week. After office hours, I had an hour downtime before my cooking demo, so I worked on some business stuff (emails/calls + client check-ins). I started setting up for the demo at 12pm and finished cleaning up by 2pm. Once I was home, I unpacked everything, ate, wrote my demo event report, and then headed out for back-to-back in-home night sessions. I wasn’t home until after 7pm (2.5 hours for the two sessions) so I didn’t feel much like charting and billing then. Ate and just relaxed until I passed out on the couch.

Friday
Mostly my Fridays are spent cleaning and catching up on business-related stuff. I wasn’t really in the mood for social media planning, so I pushed that to do on Saturday. I returned voicemails mid-morning and scheduled a new client for March, so that meant I needed to create their profile in my EMR and send them the initial welcome email with paperwork. After that, I reviewed my end-of-month financials from February, assessed client appointments, did some cleaning/laundry and prepped for a mock personal training session with a fellow Dietitian/friend. I’m still fairly new to the personal training piece and am working on my “flow.” It really helps having some awesome friends that let you practice with them! Hit the gym mid-afternoon and then prepped for dinner that night. The rest of the night was spent doing my personal training session, eating, and just all-around good conversation.

Weekend
Usually, I try not to do too much “business-related” stuff on the weekend. This past Saturday morning, I planned out my social media calendar for March (Facebook posts, blogs, and videos). After hitting the gym and doing some food prep, I originally planned to visit family. That fell through due to someone having the stomach bug, so I spent the remainder of the night finishing up a personal training workout plan for a new client.  

Today (Sunday), outside of posting this blog, I plan to do some reading (research articles on fitness), vacuum, knit, and of course, go to the gym. I have a busy week coming up, so I’ll also plan to prep some food for the next few days!

Hope this gave you some insight into my life. I am curious to see what a week-in-the-life of other dietitians looks like, so drop and a comment (or send me a message) and let me know!

Click here to schedule a FREE phone consult. Click here to check out the Etsy store. Click here to visit my website for more information.


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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
http://www.todaysdietitian.com
http://www.dietitiancentral.com/ceu/continuing_ed.cfm
http://www.pbhfoundation.org
http://www.nutrition411.com


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Top 10 Dietitian Misconceptions

“Dietitian…that means you make meal plans, right?” (Said by someone I encountered at my one job). If you are a fellow Dietitian (or Nutrition major), you have probably heard that phrase, or something like it, before.  If you haven’t, just wait and see 🙂

Here are my top 10 things I hear and chuckle at (I’ve gotten over being annoyed) that are complete misconceptions (at least for me)!

#1 Do you only eat salad?
Nope. I eat meat, veggies, fruit, etc. I do enjoy a salad and I will often eat from the salad bar at work. And by salad I mean a small amount of lettuce with a crazy amount of toppings (mushrooms, broccoli, croutons, chicken, chickpeas, etc). But again, I don’t just eat it because I am a RD, I actually like it.

#2 I am not judging what you eat.
People will literally say to me, “Oh, I know what I am eating is bad for me, I was just really hungry.” I could care less what you eat! I just came into the room to make phone calls for work. Along with me not judging what you eat, you can refrain from hiding your food from me. One day at work, I was walking down the hall and a lady with a bag of fast food literally put it behind her back when I walked by. After I said hello, she looked genuinely embarrassed and hurried off. TRUE STORY.

#3 Please stop judging what I eat.
I love the occasional ice cream (with my Lactase pills of course) or chips. Who doesn’t?! I really don’t like when people see me eating something “unhealthy” and say, “Wow, you’re eating chips?” Yes, I am human and do enjoy these pleasures once in a while.

#4 Now that you are a RD, can you write me a meal plan?
Much to what people think, I don’t just write meal plans. Actually, I rarely write out a meal plan for someone. I generally like to give people the tools to be able to choose foods that fit their dietary needs. Plus, if I told you what to eat for each meal, chances are that would become very boring. I also don’t like putting people on “diets” or talking about them for that matter. I am all about healthy lifestyle changes, which do not fall in line with a meal plan.

#5 So, you are not going to tell me to cut out my favorite foods?
This goes along with my whole no-diet-thing. Generally, when you cut foods out, you tend to miss them. This can lead to binge-eating and “going off the diet” wagon. In my experience, with both counseling and my own life, it is better to keep in your favorite foods and just eat them in small portions.

#6 Yes, I did go through 4 years of school, an unpaid internship, and a final exam.
A lot of people I talk to think that I became a RD once I graduated. I wish! After getting my bachelors, I had to apply to internships, get accepted, pay large amounts of money, and then sell my soul for 9 months (not counting the lack of life for the 2 months I spent studying to take my exam). Dramatic enough for you? But seriously, becoming an RD is not easy and props to anyone who is embarking on the journey.

#7 Dietitian and Nutritionist are not the same.
Nutritionist is not a licensed term, at least in PA. Basically, anyone could call themselves a Nutritionist. A Certified Nutritionist has more credentials than a regular Nutritionist; however, Registered Dietitian trumps all 🙂

#8 I don’t know everything and I am not afraid to say it.
It surprised me how people are shocked that I don’t know something specific about a food. Example: “What are baby romanesco good for?” First of all, I have never even seen one until now. Second, I don’t know all the nutrients in every fruit and vegetable. Yes, green leafy veggies have Vitamin K and red/orange veggies have Vitamin A; however, I mainly just tell people to eat fruits and vegetables. You don’t really need to focus on eating specific ones for specific nutrients. That is so complicated! Make it simple and just choose a variety. In the words of many RDs, “Color your plate.”

#9 Every counseling session should be standardized to cover the same thing. 
I don’t know where people got that idea from; however, none of my counseling sessions are ever the same. You don’t talk to a 60-year-old the same way you talk to a 12-year-old. You can standardize the process (aka you have the same introduction of yourself, similar forms, same waiver, etc); however, what is covered in a session is completed client-centered. I not only learned that in school; however, leading counseling sessions has taught me to be super flexible. I might want to cover protein with someone (seeing as they don’t eat enough), but they get into their binge eating habits. That last bit of information is more important to cover first. Counseling is all about getting to know your client and helping them to reach the goals they want to set.

#10 “You don’t need to see a Dietitian because you are not fat.”
Just because you are thin does not mean you are healthy. As a Dietitian, I help people gain weight (if they are underweight or looking to gain muscle), lose weight, and maintain their weight. People come see me for all different reasons. Plus, a skinny person might have horrible eating habits that lead them to become Diabetic or deficient in certain nutrients. Again, I am here to help the client reach their goals. I never judge by body size because it is such a horrible indicator of actual health.

These 10 items are all things I have encountered between my jobs, friends, family, community, etc. You may have more to add to this list or things to change (depending on your situation).

Hope you enjoyed the read. Stay tuned for my next blog “10 Tips for Conducting a Recipe Demo.”

PS: This is a Baby Romanesco. Tastes and looks like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower!


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Top 10 Dietitian Misconceptions

“Dietitian…that means you make meal plans, right?” (Said by someone I encountered at my one job). If you are a fellow Dietitian (or Nutrition major), you have probably heard that phrase, or something like it, before.  If you haven’t, just wait and see 🙂

Here are my top 10 things I hear and chuckle at (I’ve gotten over being annoyed) that are complete misconceptions (at least for me)!

#1 Do you only eat salad?
Nope. I eat meat, veggies, fruit, etc. I do enjoy a salad and I will often eat from the salad bar at work. And by salad I mean a small amount of lettuce with a crazy amount of toppings (mushrooms, broccoli, croutons, chicken, chickpeas, etc). But again, I don’t just eat it because I am a RD, I actually like it.

#2 I am not judging what you eat.
People will literally say to me, “Oh, I know what I am eating is bad for me, I was just really hungry.” I could care less what you eat! I just came into the room to make phone calls for work. Along with me not judging what you eat, you can refrain from hiding your food from me. One day at work, I was walking down the hall and a lady with a bag of fast food literally put it behind her back when I walked by. After I said hello, she looked genuinely embarrassed and hurried off. TRUE STORY.

#3 Please stop judging what I eat.
I love the occasional ice cream (with my Lactase pills of course) or chips. Who doesn’t?! I really don’t like when people see me eating something “unhealthy” and say, “Wow, you’re eating chips?” Yes, I am human and do enjoy these pleasures once in a while.

#4 Now that you are a RD, can you write me a meal plan?
Much to what people think, I don’t just write meal plans. Actually, I rarely write out a meal plan for someone. I generally like to give people the tools to be able to choose foods that fit their dietary needs. Plus, if I told you what to eat for each meal, chances are that would become very boring. I also don’t like putting people on “diets” or talking about them for that matter. I am all about healthy lifestyle changes, which do not fall in line with a meal plan.

#5 So, you are not going to tell me to cut out my favorite foods?
This goes along with my whole no-diet-thing. Generally, when you cut foods out, you tend to miss them. This can lead to binge-eating and “going off the diet” wagon. In my experience, with both counseling and my own life, it is better to keep in your favorite foods and just eat them in small portions.

#6 Yes, I did go through 4 years of school, an unpaid internship, and a final exam.
A lot of people I talk to think that I became a RD once I graduated. I wish! After getting my bachelors, I had to apply to internships, get accepted, pay large amounts of money, and then sell my soul for 9 months (not counting the lack of life for the 2 months I spent studying to take my exam). Dramatic enough for you? But seriously, becoming an RD is not easy and props to anyone who is embarking on the journey.

#7 Dietitian and Nutritionist are not the same.
Nutritionist is not a licensed term, at least in PA. Basically, anyone could call themselves a Nutritionist. A Certified Nutritionist has more credentials than a regular Nutritionist; however, Registered Dietitian trumps all 🙂

#8 I don’t know everything and I am not afraid to say it.
It surprised me how people are shocked that I don’t know something specific about a food. Example: “What are baby romanesco good for?” First of all, I have never even seen one until now. Second, I don’t know all the nutrients in every fruit and vegetable. Yes, green leafy veggies have Vitamin K and red/orange veggies have Vitamin A; however, I mainly just tell people to eat fruits and vegetables. You don’t really need to focus on eating specific ones for specific nutrients. That is so complicated! Make it simple and just choose a variety. In the words of many RDs, “Color your plate.”

#9 Every counseling session should be standardized to cover the same thing. 
I don’t know where people got that idea from; however, none of my counseling sessions are ever the same. You don’t talk to a 60-year-old the same way you talk to a 12-year-old. You can standardize the process (aka you have the same introduction of yourself, similar forms, same waiver, etc); however, what is covered in a session is completed client-centered. I not only learned that in school; however, leading counseling sessions has taught me to be super flexible. I might want to cover protein with someone (seeing as they don’t eat enough), but they get into their binge eating habits. That last bit of information is more important to cover first. Counseling is all about getting to know your client and helping them to reach the goals they want to set.

#10 “You don’t need to see a Dietitian because you are not fat.”
Just because you are thin does not mean you are healthy. As a Dietitian, I help people gain weight (if they are underweight or looking to gain muscle), lose weight, and maintain their weight. People come see me for all different reasons. Plus, a skinny person might have horrible eating habits that lead them to become Diabetic or deficient in certain nutrients. Again, I am here to help the client reach their goals. I never judge by body size because it is such a horrible indicator of actual health.

These 10 items are all things I have encountered between my jobs, friends, family, community, etc. You may have more to add to this list or things to change (depending on your situation).

Hope you enjoyed the read. Stay tuned for my next blog “10 Tips for Conducting a Recipe Demo.”

PS: This is a Baby Romanesco. Tastes and looks like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower!

 


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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)!