Meet: Caroline Susie, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and practitioner in corporate wellness. She’s also a fashion addict, Jack Russell collector, fitness enthusiast, who is obsessed with all things food and wine. Caroline had some great advice for dietitians getting started in the field. Get the scoop from an amazing member of the Healthie community:
Why did you decide to become a dietitian?
Freshman year of college, my nutrition class was the only class I didn’t skip. I know that may sound horrible (sorry Mom and Dad for cutting class!), but I took that as a sign that maybe I really should consider nutrition as a career. Since then, I’ve really been hooked. I love the fact that I help individuals in my community live healthier lives – it’s incredibly rewarding, every day.
Tell us about your journey and in particular, your passion for corporate wellness!
I have been practicing as a dietitian since 2004, and found a home in corporate wellness in 2007. Prior to working in corporate wellness, I worked in outpatient diabetes education, as a research dietitian, and a bariatric dietitian. I truly appreciate corporate wellness, because it gives dietitians a platform to promote preventive healthcare before chronic diseases develop. For example, I have seen among my clients, how annual biometric screenings prevented more than 10 critical health incidents; this was all because an employer saw the value in offering this sort of benefit – how cool is that? Employers are increasingly seeing the benefits of corporate wellness as a means to keep their employees healthier, happier, and more productive, and I can’t wait to see this facet of the healthcare system continue to grow.
How do you think corporate wellness is making a dent in healthcare?
Corporate wellness educates employees on how to make better choices regarding their health and their healthcare. I am thrilled to be working with my employer’s accountable care organization. Through this process, I have seen coworkers save money on pharmacy copays and develop relationships with primary care physicians. Benefits can be overwhelming, but it is such an awesome feeling to solve problems for those in a pinch. It is so great to see biometric improvements in addition to a reduction in claims. A total win-win!
What advice do you have for dietitians just getting started in the field?
Be aggressive (I’m from Texas – saying that makes me want to yell the “be aggressive” cheer to you all – I’ll spare you). Send the resume. Make that follow-up call, not just the follow-up email. Go volunteer. Don’t just shadow. Get involved! I am huge believer in the phrase “people know people”. Join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and appropriate subunits. Go to area meetings and network. Simply, say “yes” to everything. You never know who your next boss might be! The biggest mistake is to do nothing.
How do you think technology is changing the way that dietitians practice?
Technology is the future. Just look at anyone in their 20’s; no one wants to meet in person or over the phone (“Ew! Other people!”). Instead they prefer instant gratification and convenience. That is why RDNs have to check out Healthie, which is made by RDNs for RDNs. HIPAA-compliant telehealth and messaging?! #jackpot
There are tons of other bells and whistles with this platform, but to me the telehealth and messaging takes the cake (sorry, I’m a sucker for food puns).
It’s never too late to go after what you want. Totally cheesy saying, but oh so true. If you want it, go get it sister.
Thanks for the interview, Caroline – you’re the best!