Dynamic Dietitians, Professional Development, Staffing Tips for Success | Jan 16 2018

Dynamic Weight Management Dietitian: Laura Bartee, RD, LD

Laura Bartee, RD, LD, Weight Management Dietitian

We’re introducing you to #DynamicDietitians nationwide. You’ll be amazed at all the places you can find a dietitian, and remember, we can staff in any setting, too!

Learning to find a work-life balance

We’re introducing you to #DynamicDietitians nationwide. You’ll be amazed at all the places you can find a dietitian, and remember, we can staff in any setting, too!

Registered Dietitians know the formula to lose weight. (Hint there’s no secret sauce.) But for a weight loss dietitian, it’s not always as easy as walking into a room and saying ‘This is how you lose weight.’

“Even though you have all the answers, a patient may not want to hear it,” said weight management dietitian Laura Bartee, RD, LD, a second career dietitian in Texas. After pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in finance and economics and then working for three years in corporate finance, Laura knows first-hand how easy it is to let healthy eating and exercise fall to the wayside.

“It wasn’t just my weight, it was my overall health that was impacted by not eating healthy and not exercising,” Laura said, “I had a hard time balancing my health because I’m so career motivated.” So she decided to take action and instead of continuing down the corporate finance career path, Laura pursued a third Bachelor’s degree, this time in nutrition and dietetics.

“I just love helping other people, serving, providing support and I wanted a job that kept my health a top priority, too,” Laura said. Becoming a registered dietitian specializing in weight management was a natural fit for Laura.

What does a weight management dietitian do

Laura has worked in several different settings as a weight management dietitian and she always sees patients in an outpatient setting. Her patients ranged from weight loss to oncology and pulmonary rehab, where the focus often was on weight gain rather than weight loss. She also saw patients before, during and after bariatric surgery.

No matter the condition, one thing was always the same.

“There is lots of counseling involved, lots of talking. You break down what each person is struggling with and help them realize what they want to change,” Laura said. The goal isn’t always seeing an immediate, significant change and instead is about helping each person realize how to mix normal life with food.

“For me, if I can even help them with one tiny thing, like to stop drinking soda, then that’s a huge win for me,” Laura said.

Making a difference

With weight management, patients may come to a dietitian for different things at different times in their lives.

“Everyone has to eat,” Laura said.

Six months into her new dietetics career, Laura was working with bariatric surgery patients. She worked with a male patient for four months leading up to his surgery and continued to see him at post-surgery support groups.

He was losing weight rapidly, even more rapidly than one should after bariatric surgery. His total weight loss goal should have been reached within 12-18 months, but he had lost it all, and more, in 6-9 months because of a post-op complication.

“He was severely malnourished,” Laura said when she started seeing him again on a one-on-one basis. “He was sitting on his hip bones and had lost so much muscle mass.”

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His physician worked with him to resolve the post-op complication, but he still needed to get his nutrition and weight back on track.

Laura worked with him for seven months to get him back to a nourished state. Overall, her relationship with this patient lasted two and a half years, and she was able to work with him to lose weight and also to gain weight.

“He told me I was his main support during that scary time in his life,” Laura remembers. “I just love that I can help people with different things at different times in their lives.”

Get involved

Laura’s advice to any dietitian interested in weight management is to get involved with the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group (WMDPG). Within that organization there are several subgroups, all of which are featured in the quarterly newsletter. Next year Laura will be the newsletter editor.

“There are CE articles that you can read to get CE credits from the newsletter, too,” Laura said.

Because of her involvement with the WMDPG, Laura was nominated and selected as a Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year in 2016!

Weight management is a huge field with lots of subgroups and it’s not going anywhere.

“Eating isn’t something you can just quit,” Laura said.

Did you know Dietitians On Demand can staff a registered dietitian in ANY setting nationwide? Whether you need a confident CNSC like Sara, or a school nutrition and marketing dietitian like Stefanie, let our team do the recruiting and hiring for you!

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