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To share practice related stories, create connections and engage readers in the amazing diversity of dietitian experiences.


How an innovative blog series is putting a face to the dietetics profession

Steph Langdon helps to raise the profile of dietitians with her blog series, “What RDs Do.”


SLHS.jpgSteph Langdon is a Saskatoon based consulting dietitian and entrepreneur. She recently started an interview series profiling the various roles of dietitians on her blog and has been overwhelmed with support. As a work-at-home mom, she has embraced blogging and social media to promote dietitians and clear up misconceptions. Email Steph if you’d like to be featured in her series. She can be reached at steph@nutrishus.com. You can also connect with Steph on LinkedIn, or follow her on Facebook , Instagram or Twitter @NutrishusRD.

  

Ten months ago, I started a blog series aimed at putting a face to the dietetics profession and helping us understand the unique skill sets and the diversity that exists among us.

This series was inspired by a fellow dietitian commenting that, “Dietitians don’t just blog about food trends all day.” To which I thought, “Yes, some do.” If we, as dietitians, don’t know what many others in our profession do, how can we expect the public to?

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So, I decided to start publishing interviews featuring dietitians in various roles. I wanted to let my colleagues shine and to inform my readers. This series is also a great resource for practicing RDs, entrepreneurs who may want to explore other options, and for nutrition students.

I have featured more than 30 North American dietitians and continue to receive interest. The day I posted the thirtieth interview, I decided to purchase whatrdsdo.com. I’m now in the process of having a site designed just for this series.

Heightening the profession and raising awareness

I have been able to post one interview per week since I started this series in September 2015. I’ve received great reviews from dietitians and it’s great to see RDs learning about and getting to know each other.

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Many of the interviewees continue to support the series and share links for other dietitians’ interviews. A few dietitians have contacted me because they came across the blog and want to contribute and share their unique experience, while helping to raise awareness of the profession.

All too often we hear that “dietitian” is associated with "diet", yet few of us actually work with diets in the sense of weight loss. (The general population often uses the term “diet” that way; I use it to describe a pattern of eating.) I’m not sure if the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential in the United States has helped or added to the confusion. What do you think?

I’ve explained the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist more times than I can count and I continue to correct those that call me a nutritionist. This is often followed by, “What’s the difference?” I know it can be confusing for people, but I am hoping to help change that with this series.  

When looking at the interview responses, I often see that dietitians want people to know that:
  • We’ve studied the science of nutrition
  • We’re not the food police
  • We love food (just as much, if not more than, everyone else!)
  • We’re passionate about what we do
  • We don’t judge what others eat (in fact, others are more likely to judge us!)

This series raises awareness of what a dietitian is, the various backgrounds and career paths we have, the extra learning/education we partake in, and the various areas we’re trained to work in. It also clears up what we actually do compared to what those in our lives often think we do.

Spreading the word  

I haven’t done any advertising of the series beyond sharing links on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Some of the interviews have over 1000 views so far (most coming from Facebook).  I’m hopeful we can spread the word even further that we’re doing some amazing things. I plan to feature RDs from Europe, Australia, and beyond.

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I have many dietitians to follow up with and I hope to share the website with schools that have nutrition and dietetics programs. As a dietitian that has always been self-employed, I know this series would have been a valuable resource for me when I was starting out. I also share social media contact information for interviewees so that readers can find them if they’ve said something that resonates with them and want to connect.

Looking ahead

A perhaps difficult question that I include in the interview series is: "In an ideal world, what does the industry look like five years from now?" It’s interesting to read the responses since this question is quite different from the others that I ask. Some are hopeful of what can be accomplished in a few short years and some just want to continue to see RDs supporting each other.

Without planning to, the interview series hits on at least two areas of Vision 2020:
  • Dietitians are seen as “leaders in promoting health.”
  • It highlights that our “roles are diverse, rewarding, and novel.”

I plan to keep posting these interviews as long as there continues to be an interest. When I continually read that we want to be seen as the nutrition experts that we are, I know we have to continue to help people understand what we do (and that includes dietitians knowing what other dietitians do).

My career has evolved over the last six years in private practice, and I’m excited to see all the options out there for us to continue to support people to live healthier lives. I hope you enjoy the series and come back to see future interviews. Please let me know if you’d like to be featured!
 
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 Editor’s noteThe diversity within the dietetics profession is one of the things that attracted me to it. It is so interesting to read the interviews featured on Steph’s blog. I am especially interested in the question about what we hope the profession will look like in the future. What progress would you like to see five years from now? Here are some impacts Dietitians of Canada is planning to achieve for members.

Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions for Steph below in the comments section. 
 
  1. Thanks for the comments and support everyone! I appreciate you sharing the series, please email me steph@nutrishus.com if you'd like to be featured.
  2. Thank you Steph for highlighting our profession. We truly go beyond diets. I was just accepted to be one of the CreakyJoints Bloggers in the US, the largest online community for people suffering arthritis. It took me over a year, but I finally made it :) I am looking forward to connecting with thousands of people suffering with arthritis and chronic pain.

    Visit my site (under revision though)
    www.arthritisdietitian.ca
  3. Great idea! Looking forward to reading your blog and visiting your website when published. I certainly will pass it on to let others know what exciting roles there are for dietitians.
  4. I absolutely agree that the focus should be shifted towards promoting the dietitian as an integral part of a person's healthcare/wellness team, not just as a food expert or someone who knows some good recipes.

    In Nova Scotia, we developed a video promoting the dietitian: https://youtu.be/ZPdwwsQF7D0

    Check it out & keep up the great work!
  5. Awesome blog series!!

    And you are right, the word "diet" often has "negative" associations... but I think I heard once it comes from a Greek word meaning "way of life" which sounds so much more positive and I love to remind my clients of!
  6. All Dieticians should focus on the new studies of health and nutrition that are ACTUALLY making the changes people were looking for all this time while fighting their obesity or Diabetes. 1970's info doesn't help.

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