Meet Taylor Wolfram! Taylor is a registered dietitian with her own private practice, Whole Green Wellness. She firmly believes that a healthy lifestyle “includes both dumbbells and donuts!” The Healthie team got the chance to meet Taylor to talk careers and advice. See what Taylor had to share!
Tell us about your path to becoming a dietitian!
My first introduction to nutrition as a science was through a nutrition 101 course I took at a local community college when I was in high school. I’d always been a science nerd and I loved applying the foundational sciences of biology and chemistry to the human body and what we eat. Although, I thought that being a science nerd meant I was supposed to become a doctor, so I headed off to college as a biology premed major. It wasn’t until two years into college, after being involved in a premedical business fraternity and working in an MD/PhD lab did I realize that the lifestyle and practice of a physician was not for me. I was taking a nutrition course at my university and it reaffirmed my love for nutrition. I met with an advisor to talk about a career in nutrition and realized being able to work with people one-on-one, in an ongoing way to make lasting and impactful changes to their health (without surgery or medication) sounded like a great fit for me. I changed my major to nutrition while still clinging onto premed but finally dropped premed after a few more nutrition classes (and realizing there was no way in heck I was going to make it through a second semester of organic chemistry!). I was awarded a nutrition fellowship and was involved in several clinical research studies under my advisor, whom I’m still close with to this day. After receiving a bachelor of science in nutrition, I matched to a masters dietetic internship program and gained experience in clinical, community and food service nutrition. I accepted the first job I was offered, as the sole dietitian for a new account at a long-term care facility, and passed the registration examination while working there full-time.
Can you tell us about your career to date?
Working in long-term care was a wonderful learning experience and being the only nutrition care manager helped me gain invaluable leadership and management skills. While I enjoyed my work with my residents and building new programs at the facility, I found myself reading research studies on my lunch break and missing the world of research and writing. It wasn’t long before a research position in the city (Chicago) fell into my lap and it was an offer that was too good to pass up! I worked in research for a little while when another opportunity at the same company came about, one that allowed me a little more variety and more consumer-focused work. I love what I do as an editor and content manager — it allows me to stay on top of nutrition trends, sharpen my communication skills and learn about the world of public relations and media. Alas, I love helping individuals which is why I have a private practice on the side. If I didn’t work with private clients and help people make positive changes to their health, I would feel totally unfulfilled!
We noticed you have a blog full of guidance, recipes, and healthy living tips, can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
Friends and colleagues had been pushing me to start a blog for years and I finally pulled the trigger in February 2015. It’s been a lot of fun to have a creative writing outlet in which I get to write about and curate content (I love having guest bloggers!) that truly embodies my philosophy of body positivity and sustainable wellness.
What advice do you have for dietetic students just graduating / completing their internships?
What an exciting time! I have a few recommendations:
- Take the exam sooner rather than later. The skills you gained during the internship are what will help you pass the exam, not extra weeks of flipping through flash cards.
- Accept the first job you’re offered, especially if you have student loans to repay. You’re likely not going to be at that job forever and any job will provide you valuable experience as a brand new RDN.
- Always try to negotiate pay. The worst they can say is “no” and starting with a larger salary up front will have a significant impact on your salary down the line.
- Get involved with your local and state affiliates and any DPGs that interest you. Volunteer, attend events and network with your colleagues! Not only are RDNs fun and friendly, but you never know when one of those contacts will help you find a job, mentor you about your career or even become a close friend.
How do you think technology is changing the way dietitians are practicing care?
Technology has turned the health care world upside down! From electronic health records and nutrition informatics to telehealth platforms, it would be difficult to find an RDN who didn’t incorporate technology into their work. Telehealth in particular is opening the doors for private practice dietetics like never before. Being able to work with clients hours away, communicate in a secure platform and engage at the touch of a button is momentous!
Why are you excited about using Healthie?
Having an all-in-one platform that allows scheduling, counseling via videoconferencing, billing and secure messaging is a dream-come-true! Not only is it incredibly efficient, but I believe it will help me build my private practice in ways I would never have been able to do by myself. Not to mention the amazing support from the Healthie team — this is a company filled with passionate individuals who truly care about their clients and want RDNs to not only succeed in the telehealth sphere but lead the way in using telehealth as a key tool for prevention and healthy lifestyle changes.