By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES
When you’re trying to get basic answers to questions about food and diabetes, seeing a dietitian can be invaluable. Finding the right one can take time but it’s well worth it.
A basic question first though… are all dietitians awesome? I’ll ask a different question – Are all doctors awesome? Are all nurses awesome? Dietitians come in many shapes and sizes. They bring with them their own biases and personal experiences. While the information they share should be client-centered (based on what you need) and evidenced-based (directly pulled from the latest research and science) – that may not always the case. Some dietitians just miss the mark. Here are few questions to ask yourself to determine if your dietitian is right for you: Credentials. Make sure the dietitian carries the initials RD or RDN (for Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist). An added bonus is if the person is also a CDCES – Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (formerly known as CDE)
Experience. Ask how many years the person has been working in the field – and if their experience has been primarily inpatient or outpatient. You’ll want someone with stronger outpatient experience.
Collaboration. Are they part of a medical group? How will they communicate and collaborate with your doctor for a coordinated care plan?
Personalized Care. Is the dietitian really listening to your questions and concerns? Are the recommendations tailored to your diabetes and your eating preferences? Do you feel like the dietitian is doing most of the talking and giving you what seems like standard advice and generalized recommendations?
Connection. Did you feel like you had a good connection? What does your gut tell you? Keep in mind that every healthcare practitioner has their own style and approach. Just like when looking for the right physician, you might need to try several dietitians before you find one with whom you’ve got a great connection.