Meet Cassandra Golden MS, RD, LDN! Cassandra is a dietitian with her own private practice, Nutrition Nibbles. She encourages her clients to stop dieting and focus on whole encompassing wellness. This amazing RD has been working to educate the dietetic community about the new growing trends in private practice such as a telehealth (on platforms like Healthie), making house calls, grocery store tours, family wellness. Hear about Cassandra’s experiences so far and check out what advice she has to share.
Tell us about your path to becoming a dietitian
In the year 2010, I was sitting in my Personal Wellness elective class at the University of South Florida when Cynthia Sass entered. Cynthia introduced herself as a Registered Dietitian and I was already intrigued. That class changed my life. She was so passionate about nutrition, it was contagious. From there, she helped me map out my path to becoming a dietitian. At USF, there was not (and still isn’t as far as I know) a nutrition program. Therefore, I got my undergrad degree in Exercise Science and then moved to Miami to earn my graduate degree in Dietetics & Nutrition from Florida International University. This dynamic duo of exercise and nutrition turned out to be very advantageous in my career.
Can you tell us about your career as a dietitian to date?
I began my dietetics career as a supermarket dietitian for chain of family owned stores in the northeast. From there, I moved to the south and decided to gain experience in the clinical field. Just recently, I took the leap of faith and transitioned into full time private practice. Leading up until this time, I was seeing clients outside of the hospital setting referred to me through church, the gym, and word of mouth. I felt as though I was gaining momentum with opportunities popping up left and right. It was with heavy prayer and family/friend discussions that I made the decision to leave my salaried position with beautiful benefits.
My current days are spent building my new private practice (Nutrition Nibbles Consulting, LLC). This involves marketing my services to healthcare companies and corporate businesses, maintaining two different blogs (https://nutritionnibbles.tumblr.com/ and one for Dietitians making the same transition into private practice: http://thedietitianchronicles.tumblr.com/ ), sustaining all social media campaigns, creating and updating my website, creating a new fresh logo, and writing as a guest blogger and guest contributor for various publications. I am taking on different roles to encourage dietitians to learn more about the emerging trends in dietetics practice, such as using a telehealth program such as Healthie, making house calls, grocery store tours, family wellness, etc. If you would like to learn more, the next live webinar is November 1, and can be accessed through HERE.
Tell us all about your nutrition practice: what is your approach to care?
My approach is to take nutrition counseling beyond scheduled office visits for an all-encompassing method to wellness. I encourage the “anti-diet” way of eating and I take the house call approach. Movie nights with food-related documentaries, cupboard clean outs, grocery store tours and walking & talking follow up appointments are on the menu in addition to all of the helpful and realistic features offered by Healthie, especially the secure videoconferencing!
What advice do you have for registered dietitians to be?
My advice is to gain clinical experience first. From there you will likely confirm the niche you feel most passionate about. During this time, network with other medical professionals and other dietitians as well. From there, if you feel that “nudge” to jump into a private practice role- you will NEED the comprehensive online portal that was created for dietitians: Healthie. I tell everyone about this program and other professionals who are not dietitians WISH they had something so all-encompassing such as this!
How do you think technology is changing the way dietitians are practicing care?
Progressions in technology have made it more convenient for dietitian’s to serve clients exactly where they are, in real-time. The benefits include convenience as well as provide accessibility to rural areas for example which have limited access to a dietitian. Technology also prevents busy working individuals from taking the time to drive to and from an appointment, and the dietitian has the risk of clients canceling appointments because of this. Another cost effective benefit is potentially avoid to rent an office space to rent. All of this enables for time for more clients- which improves client/patient outcomes.
Why are you excited about using Healthie?
I’m mostly excited that I didn’t have to try out any other EHR’s before finding Healthie. Healthie is the first program I came across (thanks to Amanda and Monica!). It literally has every feature a private practice dietitian needs to run a complete business. The tech support is like no other. Potential Healthie dietitians (and dietitians who purchase the Healthie services) get immediate support through video chat which has the awesome feature of screen sharing. I’ve spoken with the creator (Erica) many times! Who would have thought the creator of this massively successful program would be on video conferencing with me late at night answering all of my silly questions?!
In addition to the amazing tech support, I’m most excited about the secure video conferencing. This feature is changing lives. That busy mom who has not been able to put her health as a priority now is able to. That diabetic patient who had a BKA and cannot drive is now able to get diabetes education. That young woman who is battling an eating disorder and is too timid to walk into an office can now have individualized, on-on-one counseling in the comfort of her own home. It’s hard to NOT want to be part of something like this.