Q&A – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Eva asks:

Do you ever get disrespected as an RD?

Disrespected may not be my word of choice, but I have had a couple moments (especially at a Dietetic intern) when my thoughts, opinions and recommendations for a patient were not taken the best by individuals in the team. Every physician and interdisciplinary team member has their own experiences, expertise and method of education. Some are young with fresh and current research/experience under their belt while others are more experienced and tend to use their knowledge from practice to make decisions. I’ve had a couple moments where my plans and recommendations were not taken the best, where I have been treated in a not so professional way, and where I took it extremely personally – something that every intern/RD deals with. Luckily I haven’t had said moments as I’ve been practicing as an RD(t) but KNOW it’ll happen!

Every workplace, regardless of your field of work, has these same issues. People butt heads, disagree with each other, etc. It may seem like a very different circumstance when you’re working in health care, especially if it’s a physician “rejecting” your plans, but it’s essentially the same idea in any professional field.

As dietitians, our concern is to represent the patient and advocate for their nutritional needs. We professionally display all our recommendations, back it up fully by the literature, and explain our ideas to the team/physician. In many circumstances, our voices our heard – but we do come into the occasion where it’s not. With the work dynamic we’re in, our next steps are to chart on the recommendations we’ve made, explain what happened, and continue to advocate for the patient if changes aren’t made and the patient’s nutrition care is not being met.

Honestly, the first time I had to deal with a situation like this, it sucked. I was so upset, felt like an idiot and took it extremely personally. Funny thing – the physician ended up implementing my plan anyways (although it happened a day later than I wanted to). What did I learn from the situation? Advocate for the patient, say EVERYTHING you want to say and back it up with literature, and document what you’ve done. The ‘don’t take it personally’ bit is the HARDEST part, but I always think about the patient’s care and making sure their needs are met rather than thinking about myself.

Great question!


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