I recently caught up with Kate Doubler, the Real Food RN. Kate is well known for her website and blog, Real Food RN where she spends her time educating others on real foods, the benefits of essential oils, and shares some amazing recipes. Here’s what Kate had to say about the role of nursing in the field of nutrition and preventing common diseases.

Meet Kate Doubler aka The Real Food RN

kate doubler real food rnKate Doubler has been running her site, The Real Food RN for quite some time. If you’ve never been acquainted with it then I suggest you head over there and check it out. She has a wealth of knowledge on her website in regards to essential oils, healthy eating, amazing recipes (like pumpkin ice cream), and much much more. Like myself, Kate is a registered nurse with experience in the critical care setting. She has seen first hand a broken healthcare system that has its emphasis on treating the sick rather than preventing illness. Here’s what she had to say about healthcare, nursing, and her advice for those seeking a career in the nutrition field.

1. You had a similar journey to myself – we both gravitated to critical care in some way, me to the emergency room, you to critical care. What are some of the frustrations in healthcare/nursing that you have to deal with when it comes to sick patients and healing in a hospital setting?

I worked in critical care and in the ER too, so we also have that in common. Some of the biggest frustrations are the lack of getting to the root cause. So much of it is symptomatic management! Then people keep coming back in with recurrence of symptoms, and more symptomatic management. It becomes a cycle. I also found that our general recommendations were not all that great, especially when it comes to healthy eating! I think a healthy diet is the foundation of good health and to misinform the public (especially when they are sick!) is doing a great disservice!

2. My experience with nutrition education in nursing school was very limited. That which was taught was very basic and generic advice. What are your thoughts on what you’ve learned about nutrition in nursing school?

I had the same experience. I learned very little about nutrition in nursing school. Now looking back on it, what I did learn was flawed at best. That is why I went back to school after nursing school and pursued holistic nutrition at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I learned all kinds of great things about nutrition in that program and was able to open up a practice counseling people on how to improve their health and prevent disease through the power of real food!

3. You’ve described your day to day experience in hospitals as “pushing pills and ‘fixing’ people who continue to dietarily re-offend their bodies.” I would say that many people have a stereotype of that’s all a nurse does. How can nurses play a role in nutrition?

Yes, I really do think that many people believe the stereotype that Nurses just push pills all day. In reality, that is such a small part of the day-to-day activities when caring for patients. So much of it is planning, assessing, calling doctors, executing doctors orders, etc. We are limited in the role we play with nutrition because we have to adhere to standards of care. The prescribed diet that the food pyramid recommends, which I think it a very poor representation of how we should be eating to promote health!

4. One of my frustrations is that modern day nursing has shifted away from its more holistic based approach in healing. How have you gotten away from hospital based nursing to have more of an emphasis on nutrition?

I started seeing clients after I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and was counseling them on eating right. Then I started a blog (www.realfoodrn.com) and put my recipes up there for my clients. Over time, my blog grew more than my practice so I stopped seeing clients and focused more on the blog. With an online presence I am able to reach a much broader audience from all over the world, so I am keeping my focus online for now.

5. There are a lot of people that don’t see nurses as a type of person to go to for nutrition coaching. How can working with a nurse be better than some of the other professions out there such as a dietitian or a licensed/certified nutritionist?

I think you have an upper hand when working with a Nurse because we understand how the human body works. We have a science based education. I know that has helped me better understand the role in good nutrition and health. I also think that the type of person who pursues nursing as a career has a general interest in helping and healing people. So, they will tend to have that same passion when it comes to nutrition too. That’s not to say that dietitians and nutritionists don’t want to help people. I just think Nurses come at it with a different approach and heart, especially if they have had any experience in the trenches of the ICU and cancer wards!

6. There are a lot of nurses out there who would love to spend more time on nutrition education and healing, do you have any words of advice to them if they would like to pursue a nursing career related to nutrition?

Yes, go back to school! Do it now! You will never regret it. I of course highly recommend the school that I went to: The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. There are also a few other programs out there that I plan to pursue some day: Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Do what program speaks to you the most, you can always go back for more later.

7. If someone wants to contact you with any questions or wants to follow you for healthy living tips, what’s the best way to do so?

They can contact me via email: kate@realfoodrn.com

I’d like to personally thank Kate from www.realfoodrn.com for taking the time to respond to my questions.