Name: Hope Gardner
Job Title: Clinical Dietitian, previously a Dietary Aide
Where: Columbia, South Carolina
Employer: Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital
Education: Master’s of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from LA TECH University
Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Annual Salary: $45,000 (To see Clinical Dietitian salaries by years of experience, visit the PayScale Research Center. Also find information on other medical jobs, including Medical Laboratory Technician salaries).
Hope Gardner has found her perfect career fit, combining a love of food and a passion for helping people. Beginning her career as a Dietary Aide, Hope is now a Clinical Dietitian, rehabilitating patients through dietary counseling. Here, Hope shares what she loves most about her job, and outlines a possible career path for anyone considering a job as a Dietary Aide or Clinical Dietitian.
Clinical Dietitian Job Description and Duties of a Dietitian:
Complete nutritional assessments of patients to determine if they are at risk of being malnourished, counsel patients on diets, importance of nutrition, also work with registered nurses (RNs), and physical and occupational therapists for the best possible rehab potential for a patient.
PayScale: How did you get started as a Clinical Dietitian?
Hope: "I love food and wanted to help people and didn’t want to be a chef (late nights) or a nurse (hate needles). I’m perfectly right in the middle of both of these!"
PayScale: What do you love about working as a Clinical Dietitian ?
Hope: “I love seeing patients who need just a little boost to get them going. And that is what I do — help them realize that in order to go back home they have to get stronger, and eating is a big part of it. It is a very rewarding career for me!”
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face in your job as a Clinical Dietitian ?
Hope: “Time limits and having to attend administrative-type meetings.”
PayScale: What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you while working as a Clinical Dietitian ?
Hope: “Never a dull moment.”
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