For David Hall, MS, RDN, LD, his first year as a registered dietitian has been marked by surprises. The first came the moment he officially became an RD. After his internship wrapped, he treated himself to a vacation, spent some time studying for the RD exam, and then scheduled the exam without telling any of his family or friends.
After what he describes as “one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of [his] life,” he surprised everyone — including himself — with the news that he was officially a registered dietitian.
In that surreal moment, David thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m a dietitian now!’
After earning his official credentials in July 2018, David found a career he absolutely loves with a population he never expected. Based in Louisville, Ky., David is one of a handful of statewide dietitians working with Therapeutic Intervention Services, PLLC. The nonprofit organization provides mental health and community living services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Nutrition and wellness have been identified as top goals for this population, as these individuals often have a higher prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol — all three of which are directly impacted by food and nutrition.1
To serve his clients, David meets them wherever it is most convenient for them. A typical work day includes “a little bit of everything.” To be more specific, David spends his time grocery shopping with caregivers, attending interdisciplinary meetings with case managers, social workers, and therapists, planning cooking demos, and providing medical nutrition therapy to his clients with health conditions.
In addition to the day-to-day variety, David’s position offers a great deal of flexibility, even allowing him to work from home sometimes.
“It’s really easy to find a work-life balance,” David said.
Advice for His Younger Self
David completed his DPD requirements and earned his Master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati; he was then accepted into the internship program at Western Kentucky University. In the past year, David has been “amazed” seeing his education and training come together so seamlessly.
“Trust the process,” David said. “When you’re going through it, you don’t necessarily see the end goal,” David said of the DPD coursework and internship. Because of his education and training, David felt confident and well-prepared in his early days as an RD.
“It’s funny how we stress ourselves out in the internship wondering, ‘What do I do? What do I say? How do I approach this?’ Once you become an RD, it just clicks. Interacting with clients just comes naturally.” David said.
What’s Next for David?
In the future, David is considering pursuing a private practice. But for now, he’s enjoying every moment in his current role.
“I thoroughly love what I currently do. Having the freedom to continue to grow in that capacity is where I see myself,” David said.
So, to round off his first year as a dietitian, it seems that the greatest surprise of David’s new career is the passion he has discovered for the developmental disabilities community.
“I never saw myself or prepared myself to start working with this population, but now that I have, I love it. I love all of my clients so much. Ideally, it’s where I see myself. I see myself being happiest doing this type of service with this population.”
Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC worked as a traveling dietitian for Dietitians On Demand for two years before joining the team as the corporate dietitian. In this role, she has championed the continuing education program to empower dietitians everywhere to achieve their professional goals.
Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing and recruiting company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. We’re dedicated to dietitians and helping them enhance their practice and excel in the workplace. Check out our job openings, request your coverage, or visit our store today!
Therapeutic Intervention Services brochure. Dietitian Services. https://www.therapeuticinterventionservices.com/services