Highlighting Our Incredible VAND Members!
Interviewed by: Kristen Chang MS, RDN, CSSD
What is your current position of employment? I started at Inova Fairfax Hospital in 1990 as a clinical dietitian. I knew after completing my CUP internship at Virginia Tech that I wanted to work at a large teaching hospital practicing acute care clinical dietetics. At Inova, I have practiced in all areas of acute clinical dietetics but my passion is critical care nutrition support. In 2013 I accepted the position as a Morrison clinical nutrition manager at Inova. At the time it was a difficult decision to move from being a peer to a boss, but I was ready for a new challenge and wanted to serve as an advocate for the clinical RDN staff.
Inova Fairfax Hospital has grown in the past 30 years and has an average census of approximately 970 patients, including 100 NICU babies. Currently I manage a team of 18 dietitians, as well as the NICU and Peds Nutrition Room staff. This unique mix room processes breastmilk and formula to support our NICU and pediatric patients. Nutrition room technician positions provide dietetic students, and those with an interest in the nutrition field, a quality clinical experience to put on their resumes and dietetic internship applications.
What inspired you to join the field of dietetics? I was a high school gymnast and became interested in nutrition at an early age. At the time there was little information available on how to best fuel my body for performance, and this later led me to pursue the dietetics program at Virginia Tech. I completed most of my clinical supervised practice rotations at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, which in turn fueled my passion for clinical dietetics and my desire to work at a large teaching hospital.
What is the best thing about being a part of VAND? Being a member of VAND allows me to keep up with different areas of dietetic practice. I enjoy hearing about advancements in the field of dietetics and current practices of VAND members in areas other than clinical. VAND provides quality networking opportunities for all different types of RDNs and also allows me to keep up with many of the students I have mentored in the past.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work? I enjoy spending time with my husband and two sons who are currently in college. We enjoy taking day trips, visiting wineries, and hiking with our dog, Lulu. I also enjoy yoga, weight training, and reading. I’m currently in a monthly book club in which we read a variety of books and have quality girlfriend bonding time.
What has been your most exciting event during 2019? I am in the process of planning the 2nd Annual Inova-NVAND-Morrison Clinical Nutrition Conference, which will be held in May of 2020. The conference is geared towards acute care clinical dietitians. This year we plan to expand our program to include more dietitians throughout the northern Virginia region. The goal of the conference is to showcase the exceptional staff of Inova RDs and their expertise, while hearing from guest speakers from across the country. Putting together the event is a lot of work, but it is very rewarding to provide a day of networking, learning, and RDN advocacy.
In addition, I look forward to continuing to serve as a mentor to my staff and dietetic students. I value serving as a preceptor to undergraduates and interns, and want to continue providing my staff with the resources needed to provide a quality experience for future dietitians.
Congratulations to Martha for being such an important part of our profession!