A Dietitian’s Advice: ‘Don’t Turn Down Anything!”

Lisa Harkins, registered dietitian

How A Temporary Job Changed A Dietitian’s Life

Right time. Right place. Right dietitian. For second-career dietitian Lisa Harkins, RD, LD, supplementing her private practice with a two-month, part-time assignment ended up being exactly the refresh her career needed.

How did it happen? By saying yes to a job offer from Dietitians on Demand.

“My advice to any dietitian out there is, don’t turn down anything!” she said. “Remain flexible and learn from every opportunity.”

Fairly new into her career as a registered dietitian, Lisa was online searching for a gig to supplement her private practice and keep her clinical skills sharp. She came across an opening with Dietitians on Demand for 24 hours per week at a long term care facility and decided to apply.

“It was usually feast or famine,” Lisa said of her private practice. She busied herself with speaking engagements, grocery store tours and teaching spin classes, but said eventually, she got tired of having “like 60 jobs.”

“I said I’d never do clinical, but looking back, I’d advise every dietitian coming out of their internship to work at least a year in a clinical setting. It’s the foundation for everything, and long term care is exploding right now!” Lisa said.

From 60 jobs to 1

Within a few days, Lisa was offered the temporary long term care dietitian position with Dietitians on Demand. This position happened to be at a client site associated with a food service company.

What was supposed to be a 30-day assignment turned into a 60-day assignment. Lisa was happy to extend! And at the end of 60 days, Lisa was offered a permanent position at the facility! She had formed a strong professional relationship with the Regional Director of Operations, and was even more excited to accept the permanent position. Finally, she has one full-time job to devote her attention to, and in a clinical position no less!

It may seem like this is the happy ending for Lisa, but little did she know, this was just the beginning.

“I should have sent you guys a fruit basket!”

A few months later, the Regional Director of Operations who Lisa had grown to know so well came to her with a new job opportunity.

“She said to me, ‘You know, we have this position opening up, it’s a director position. It’s kind of a jump, but I think you’d be perfect for it,’” Lisa said.

Lisa went through a series of interviews spanning a few months. She learned that the director position required lots of travel, strong clinical skills as well as strong sales skills and a flexible lifestyle. Basically, tough skills to find all wrapped up in one dietitian.

“It was a four-level jump for me!” Lisa said of the role. But sure enough, she was offered the position, and accepted!

“I totally owe getting this job to Dietitians on Demand, you gave me a foot in the door! I was in the right place at the right time and made the right connections,” Lisa said. “I should have sent you guys a fruit basket!

Lisa now oversees more than 100 dietitians spanning from New York to Florida. Reviewing clinical competencies, managing sales/client retention, working with chefs to review menus, ensuring altered diets are clinically appropriate, speaking engagements and attending conferences are just a few of the tasks Lisa now juggles, and she loves it!

Lisa is not an anomaly at Dietitians on Demand. More than 15 percent of our consultant dietitian positions end up converting to permanent. Temp-to-perm dietitian staffing can be a great way for both the client and the dietitian to test the waters before committing!

Lisa Harkins, consultant dietitian

Lisa Harkins went from a site dietitian to a regional director in less than a year, all thanks to a temporary job with Dietitians on Demand!

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Dietitians on Demand is a nationwide staffing and recruitment company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. Check out our job openings, or request your coverage today!

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