Alison D, a clinical dietitian at Northside, says she got lucky to have found nutrition as a career path. Her passion for food led her to a fulfilling career at Northside, helping patients get the most out of their medical care – and their lives.
Alison didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she registered for the nutrition and dietetics program at Auburn University for her undergraduate studies. But the more she learned along the way, she discovered just how compatible nutrition was with her values and her career goals.
After completing her dietetic internship and her master’s degree at St. Louis University, she was ready to take on the challenge of being a dietitian at Northside. In 2017, she started out at a congestive heart failure clinic, where she gained experience in how nutrition affects the heart. Shortly after, she transitioned to working on a GI floor at Northside, and now she specializes in nutrition for oncology treatment. In three short years, Alison was able to experience very different sides of nutrition, which she says was an exciting way to start her career and figure out what she felt most passionate about. “You can jump around and learn a little bit about a lot,” Alison says, due to the wide variety of patient populations at Northside.
Teamwork Makes All The Difference
In her role, Alison focuses on patients receiving proper nourishment during their care at Northside. One way that she maximizes this responsibility is through emphasizing interdisciplinary teamwork and communication to ensure that her plans for a patient are complementary to the plans being administered by the doctors, pharmacists, and speech therapists. This kind of collaboration not only enhances patient care, it also provides for a rewarding work environment. “It helps make everything run smoothly, but it also opens the door to more education and more collaboration, because nutrition spans all other disciplines.”
Advice for Future Coworkers
While Alison says she became a dietitian as a result of her passion for food, she shared what else others looking to follow in her footsteps should think about when considering the field. “Be passionate about the science behind food and the research that goes into the field of dietetics. It’s a field that we’re still learning so much about all the time, and things are changing on a daily basis.” This includes keeping up with the latest research and studies and being able to relay those findings into relatable, actionable feedback to patients.
Aside from an interest in the science behind food, what does Alison hope for in a coworker? It’s simple: communication, dedication, and “a willingness to go the extra mile to provide the best patient care possible.”
Interested in learning more about a career in nutrition and dietetics at Northside? Check out our current openings here!