Patient and provider

I recently had a baby (a common theme through many of my recent posts) and as such I was followed closely by health care professionals for the last year. First by my family doctor, then by my obstetrician, and now by my childrens’ pediatrician. For the record, all three providers are great and I’m very happy with my and my childrens’ care. All of them know I am a dietitian. As nutrition is an important topic in both pregnancy and early childhood, and I have a history of anemia in pregnancy coupled with our vegetarian diet at home, I talk about nutrition a lot with all these providers. Or moreso, they talk to me (or don’t) about my/our diet. It’s always interesting for me to be on the receiving end of nutrition advice, particularly from non-dietitians. Sometimes they explain in depth important nutrients and sources there of, sometimes they make vague suggestions and say something along the lines of “you know what to do”, and sometimes they ask me no nutrition questions at all.

My personal favourite response is the second one. I struggle with feelings of frustration when providers get very detailed canada’s-food-guide at me. My initial reaction is “geez, this is what I do for a living, I got this”; I’m trying now to see this instead as helpful for patients without my particular background and hope that this same explanation is, in fact, offered to everyone. When I was younger and more naive, I would prefer the third response (because I’m a DIETITIAN) but now I do hope to still be asked. First, I’m not a nutrition expert in all fields, and there are many areas I am out of date on. Second, I’m a dietitian, but that doesn’t make my diet perfect – sometimes it’s downright crappy – and I think it’s important for my health providers to know that. Third, I want to know that I’m getting the same standard of care as everyone else, and hopefully health providers aren’t assuming that because I’m thin and a dietitian that I am living a healthy life.

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