Congratulations! You have been hired as a renal dietitian. Now the next step is reviewing all you have learned about renal nutrition in the past and seeking out new information to get ready to help your patients.
Here are some resources I recommend.
- Council on Renal Nutrition
If you are already a member of the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition (NKF-CRN), this is a wonderful step. You will be receiving the Journal of Renal Nutrition every other month. There is a wealth of relevant research articles, not to mention an article worth 2 continuing professional education (CPE) credits in every issue. NKF also has multidisciplinary educational webinars you can access at your convenience: check www.kidney.org/cme and look for postcard announcements when new activities are available. You will also receive The Pocket Guide to Nutrition Assessment of the Patient with Chronic Kidney Disease, which contains many helpful guidelines such as nutrition assessment and needs, medications, and tips for working with unique populations such as children and people with HIV. There is a comprehensive program track designed specifically for renal and clinical dietitians as part of the annual NKF Spring Clinical Meetings, which also offers a full-day course tailored for those new to the field. The course is called Foundations of nutrition practice for kidney disease (Strategies I).
Look for an NKF-CRN chapter near you or other renal nutrition organization. You will find terrific live educational meetings and there is no better way to network with colleagues in your area. I think one of the best things I did when starting in the specialty of renal nutrition 11 years ago was to join my local renal nutrition association and try to attend their conferences regularly. You can review different local renal organizations’ websites to determine hot topics in the field from conference schedules, and often find patient educational materials. Check the patient newsletters for examples of articles, recipes, games and more that are helpful for promoting adherence for dialysis patients.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The Academy’s Renal Practice Group publishes the Renal Nutrition Forum, a newsletter that includes CPE articles. Some issues offer high-quality, reproducible educational materials for patients.
Guidelines, forums, industry
I recommend reading the NKF’s Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiatives (KDOQI) guidelines on either CKD care or dialysis care at www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_commentaries.cfm. You can join the free RenalRD interactive listserv at: www.mailman.srv.ualberta.ca/mailman/listinfo/renalrd. This is a great place to post questions and engage in discussion. Please note that there is a very high volume of emails; I recommend setting up a separate email account for this list serv. There is an option to receive each individual email or as a one-time daily digest.
Contact company representatives for most commonly used phosphorus binders (Phoslo, Renvela, and Fosrenol) to set up meetings for updated information about these medications. You will also learn about patient assistance programs and other ways to work with your social worker to help patients obtain medications. Check product websites to learn more about protein supplements and supplements designed for renal patients, such as Prostat, Prosource, Re/Gen Shakes, Re/Gen cookies, Liquacel, Nepro, and Novasource Renal.
Self-study CPE programs
Here are some opportunities for CPE programs.
• A Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is one of the most comprehensive and useful books on renal nutrition. It is edited by three leaders in the specialty: Laura Byham-Gray, PhD, RD, Jean Stover, RD, and Karen Wiesen, MS, RD. If you already have the book, you can earn 26 CPE credits online for $139.99 from reading it and doing the quiz from Skelly Skills. More at www.skellyskills.com/A_Clinical_Guide_to_Nutrition_Care_in_Kidney_Disea_p/kidney01.htm
• Nutrition Dimension offers a 12 CPE program, Renal nutrition for the dietitian, by M. Allison Hull, MPH, RD, LDN, for $149.00 online. It was last updated in 2011 and is a good basic review of renal function and nutrition across the stages of kidney disease. More information at http://ce.nutritiondimension.com/course/rd123/renal-nutrition-for-the-dietitian/
• Wolfe Rinke Associates offers 30 CPEUs for a cost of $174.95 through the online program, Medical nutrition therapy for renal disease, by Nancy Kondracki, MS, RD, LDN. A detailed outline of the course is on the website at www.wolfrinke.com/CEFILES/C215CPEcourse.htm
• The Academy offers five online CPE modules for chronic kidney disease and nutrition management. The cost is $19 each for members and they are 2.5 CPE hours each. More information at www.eatright.org/HealthProfessionals/content.aspx?id=8628
Patient education materials
There are resources for patient education materials online as well. In addition to handouts on www.nutrition411.com, there are several kidney-friendly recipe websites.
- NKF Kidney Kitchen: www.kidney.org/patients/kidneykitchen/recipes.cfm
- www.aakp.org (search: recipes)
There is a downloadable renal nutrition counter available for patients in English and Spanish at www.aakp.org/education/brochures/item/aakp-nutrition-counter-a-reference-for-the-kidney-patient.html.
Armed with these resources and involvement in professional organizations and conferences, you are well on your way to a successful start in the specialty of renal nutrition.