Diversity of Communication in Dietetics

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Hope Anderson: Registered Dietitian

Hope Anderson is a registered dietitian from Monroe, Louisiana. She wakes up in the morning with a different agenda every day, and she would not want a job any less spontaneous. Some of the hats she wears include owning and operating her own business, “Health With Hope,” where she counsels patients of all ages regarding various aspects of nutrition and health. She speaks to a variety of audiences about the impact of nutrition on general wellness, teaches at-home cooking classes, provides grocery store tours, conducts corporate wellness programs, and contributes to Edible Nashville, a food magazine, as an associate editor.

The Journey to the Dietetics Profession

Hope was given a foundation in good nutrition as her mother appreciated its importance and served healthful meals in the home. She always wanted to pursue a career in nutrition, but when the major was not offered at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in communication instead which led to her working as a journalist and liaison to the public for general health topics and medicine. She became eager for more knowledge and wanted to become a nutritional expert for whom individuals could turn to. She then pursued her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at Louisiana Tech University, followed by a completion of her dietetic internship at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Communication in the Workplace

Hope emphasizes the importance of great communication skills in all lines of her work. She communicates through both her social media and her website, promoting her business while advertising for new clients. She also utilizes these outlets to speak to clients in counseling sessions. The fate of her business depends on her ability to build relationships with clientele through communication ultimately to help her with marketing her services.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is critical for developing a rapport with clients during a counseling session. Hope mentions, “To be a good communicator you really have to learn how to listen well.” Building trust through the development of a personal connection with a patient or client creates a support system for that patient which is a key component to achieve in counseling.

A dietitian must develop an individualized plan to improve a client’s health. Without that connection, clients may withhold important information, resulting in an ineffective intervention approach. Hope emphasizes to her clients that bodies are communicators that must be listened to. This a great approach for all dietitians to use in nutrition counseling with their clients. What works well for one’s own body may not work for another.

Written Communication

While Hope prefers face-to-face contact when counseling, she also understands the importance of written communication. Writing articles is one of her favorite forms of communication. “Words written down are powerful. They last forever,” Hope comments. She puts an abundance of time and energy into the articles she rights for “Edible Nashville” and her own website taking great pride in her work.

As a dietitian, charting is a necessary component to remember details for a vast number of patients. Keeping individualized notes of what the client says is necessary to forming respectable relationships. As a dietitian, questioning a client about their goals from the prior meeting shows an ability to listen and empathy.

Technical Communication

Hope feels her technical communication could be improved upon. Social media is a great, modern way to market her business and reach out to potential clients, and she feels she should use it much more as it is becoming a forefront for her business. Hope uses social media regularly to release recipes or articles on her website. She’s recorded a podcast and is currently in the process of developing an app for her business that clients can use.

Rebecca Robert, guest blogger

courtesy of Hope Anderson

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