Healthie community: Meet Leslie Edmunds of Healthy Hearts Nutrition in Springfield, OH. Leslie is an amazing dietitian who specializes in weight management, diabetes and chronic conditions, and general health. We’ve absolutely loved getting to know Leslie as she transitions her practice to Healthie and look forward to helping her further streamline her practice and improve her productivity!
Why and how did you decide to become a dietitian?
I struggled with body image growing up and was always interested in “nutrition” or let’s be honest… the latest “fad diet”. Therefore, nutrition and dietetics was a natural interest of mine and fell in line with my love of science. The more classes I took, the more I enjoyed the major 🙂
Walk us through your career so far!
I’ll try not to bore you 🙂
Right out of college, I was hired as a clinical dietitian at two long-term care centers in Dayton. I worked at those two facilities for four years. While working there I was interested in starting my private practice “on the side.” I completed all of the paperwork for my LLC and got a teeny tiny office space in a local occupational therapist’s office in 2012. I saw clients in the evenings and weekends, as I was still working at the long term care centers 40 hours per week. Eventually my private practice increased and I felt the need to have one full weekday to devote to my private practice. A new 32 hour/week position became available as an outpatient dietitian at three clinics in the Dayton area. I took the job and continued to see private practice clients on Monday evenings, all day Wednesday, and Saturdays. I moved into a much bigger and nicer office space in my hometown of Springfield. My private practice continued to evolve and I had my first daughter in February of 2014. After my maternity leave, I decided to go back to my outpatient job 16 hours per week so I could devote more time to my private practice and to being a mom. I did that for six months and decided to “cut the cord” and focus on my private practice 100% in January of 2015. Since then, the practice has grown tremendously and am even thinking about hiring another dietitian to help. 🙂
Sidenote: We loved hearing about Leslie’s transition to private practice. It’s a reminder that starting a private practice can be gradual – it’s okay to start small, and the most important thing is to just get started!
What advice do you have for dietitians just getting started?
My biggest piece of advice: Seek out mentors. Two other local private practice dietitians guided me through the process of starting my private practice, from helping me set up the business and the process of insurance credentialing. They could have easily declined my questions for fear of competition. I am forever grateful for their willingness to help.
What were some interesting lessons learned as you built your practice?
Building a private practice takes time and effort. I didn’t quit my job on a whim and jump out into private practice right away. I still had bills to pay and shopping habits to cater to. 🙂 I weaned away my hours slowly. If this is a possibility for you, I’d recommend it. I also worked long hours in those first few years. I would come home from working all day and head to “my office” to see my private practice clients. I worked evenings and Saturdays to build up my client load. It wasn’t fun, but it was worth it. I’m happy to note, I am no longer working in the evenings or on the weekends. 🙂
How do you think Technology is changing the way dietitians are practicing care?
I absolutely love it! I love social media… I love Instagram. I love the connections! Photos, sharing ideas and recipes, and motivational guidance. It’s wonderful and so encouraging. Behavior change is tough, having a constant cheerleader makes it more manageable and accessible for our clients. I also love how technology makes it “easier” on everyone (myself and the client). From scheduling online and completing forms online all the way to sending me a quick question rather than waiting until the next appointment. I’m all for “easier”. 🙂
What excites you the most about using Healthie?
I’m so excited to have online scheduling and having clients fill out paperwork online before they see me. I think having an EMR creates a better reputation, and I’m all for that.
Thanks Leslie for giving us some insight into your career – we know it will be helpful to dietitians, particularly those who are just getting started in private practice.