Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What RDs Do: Lisa Andrews MEd, RD, LD

for something nutrishus

It's great to see that a dietitian with so many different experiences and that has worked in a variety of roles, still sees the future as an opportunity for dietitians to be involved in even more areas of practice. As you've been seeing in this series, this is a career for you if you like doing different things every day or every week. Lisa also reminds us that although we're translating science, there is also an art to the work we do.

Why did you become a RD? 

I became an RD because I was always interested in science and health when I was growing up. I am also a people person, so talking to people and helping them is just in my nature. My dad had diabetes, so I was always curious as to why his diet was modified.

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I worked as a clinical RD for several years in acute care, nutrition support. Currently, I’m in private practice.

How would you explain what you do? 

I think I have “RD ADHD”. No day is the same for me. I see clients in an office, provide grocery store tours, do lectures or food demos for companies, freelance writing and some media work. I love the variety of work! It can be challenging to switch gears, but it is much more fun than doing the same work every day.

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

I update social media and my blog regularly. I see a handful of clients per week and write progress notes to physicians. I may do a lecture somewhere or health coaching at a company. I write at least 2-4 articles per month for Food & Health Communications and answer questions on Dietititian Central.com. I recently won a grant to have pantries placed in low income neighborhoods, so much of my time will be spent on this. Every week is different!

What has been your career path? 

I worked in acute care for 23+ years, but honestly, I had my foot out the door for at least 15 of it. I worked full time and got my Masters degree, then went part time at the VA where I was working. I taught classes at 2 universities as an adjunct and also had a community agency job part time. I did a lot of writing for free, which helped get my name out in the field. I feel like I’ve been consulting longer than 8 years because of the variety of work that I wedged into my schedule over time.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I have a Masters degree in Education in Nutrition. I have a certificate in training for Adult Weight Management and may go for the Certification some time in the future.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now? 

I would love to see more RDs in retail and working in non-profits doing work in agriculture or sustainability. We need to get ahead of the food curve. I can see more dietitians in marketing and writing.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up? 

I wish people didn’t think RDs were militant about their diets. If we didn’t like food, we wouldn’t be in the field! We eat healthy most of the time, but also might love wine and chocolate.

What would you like people to know about RDs? 

I’d like people to know we are highly intelligent and work hard. We deserve more opportunities in health care and other arenas that we are not currently offered (i.e. medical sales, health education or training in hospitals, marketing of food products for companies). It always bothered me that nurses were considered for promotions or management jobs, but RDs were not.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD? 

Biggest challenge is competing with non-RDs. It seems that everyone that eats thinks they are a nutrition expert! There are too many hacks out there that claim they are nutrition experts.

What do people think that you do for a living? 

People think I counsel patients on diets all day long.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

I am passionate about how RDs and food experts can change a person’s life through better diet. I like how creative I get to be in this field.

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals? 

I think RDs have more training in clinical care than wellness professionals. We know in depth about disease and personalize our recommendations to people. We also know more about cooking and research. I call RDs the “Real Deal” in Nutrition!

What is your favourite meal? 

My favorite meal is a Thai peanut noodle dish I make with chicken. I love anything with ginger in it!

What tip(s) would you give to our readers? 

Never underestimate the value of volunteering, networking and mentoring. I believe it’s vital that people stay connected and give back to others (whether this is to a student or colleague). What comes around, goes around. Never burn any bridges. The world is a small place.

Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable: 

Check out my blog: www.soundbitesnutrition.com

More about Lisa:

Twitter: @nutrigirl 
Instagram: nutrigirl66 

Thanks Lisa! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!