While interning at St. Mary’s Hospital and Mayo Clinic, Karen learned a technique she has carried with her since. “For every patient I work with, I take a step back and ask myself, ‘if this was my grandparent, parent, or child, would I be happy with how they were being treated or with the service they are receiving,’” she says. If she doesn’t feel good with the service, she said she believes it’s her responsibility to address what was needed to make it a better experience.
Karen spends much of her time working with hospital patients to help them understand their disease, and select the best foods to keep them healthy. Karen’s day begins with reviewing the menu selections that patients submit. According to her, reviewing the items patients’ select to eat helps her better understand how well the patient understands their disease; but she also sees it as a way to make the patient feel better about being in the hospital.
Karen will also handle consults for patients who are in the hospital after a heart issue, or speak with patients about diabetes in dialysis, or even talk with a patient who has gone through surgery to help them understand what foods may interact poorly with the prescriptions they are taking during their stay, or when they return home.