JESSICA WHITE, MS RDN LD
Emergency Hospital Systems
In this edition of our Employee Spotlight, we’re pleased to feature Jessica White, one of our dedicated Dietitian Nutritionists at Emergency Hospital Systems. Jessica brings expertise and passion to her role, ensuring our patients receive the best nutritional care.
Jessica’s role goes beyond the conventional understanding of nutrition. She guides patients on what to eat and when, how, and why based on individual health considerations. From meal satisfaction assessments to coordinating feeding assistance, Jessica’s work is crucial in enhancing the overall well-being of our patients.
1. Can you tell us about your role and responsibilities as a dietitian at Emergency Hospital Systems?
My responsibilities as a nutritionist are to guide individuals regarding what, when, how, and why they should consume certain foods based on their health condition, medical test results, and adherence. It’s a complex process that goes beyond simply eating fruits and vegetables. I interview patients for meal satisfaction with their assigned diet. The consultation gives me insight into whether their meal needs to be modified nutritionally or mechanically. In cases where patients cannot feed themselves, I coordinate with nurses and the kitchen staff to provide feeding assistance. Some patients may also require supplements such as protein shakes or vitamins to achieve their nutrition needs. I also offer nutrition education to help patients maintain a healthy diet after leaving the hospital.
2. What inspired you to become a dietitian, and how has your journey been so far?
I wanted to become a dietitian because I grew up on the concept of treating food as medicine. My grandfather had a significant influence on my passion for food science. We always cooked together, and he explained why we eat certain foods to feel better. My journey to become a dietitian required me to wear different hats.
During my dietetic internship, I worked in many different environments, such as the Sam Houston State University athletic department, to help enhance performance. Urban Harvest, a nonprofit organization, gave me experience delivering nutrition and gardening education to low-income schools and areas of inner Houston. Clinical research is my specialty, and I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Gould and his team to close up his Century Study. The study investigates how lifestyle and nutrition affect cardiac health. Now that I’m a registered dietitian, I work for Cleveland and Deerbrook ER and a research facility in Conroe that tests cardiac safety for semaglutide injections.
3. Could you share a memorable experience or achievement from your time as a dietitian?
My most memorable achievement is creating a culinary camp for kids with my classmates. It was gratifying seeing kids enjoy cooking and wanting to explore different flavors and textures. I enjoy seeing food passion evolving, and kids are a great vehicle to change a family’s menu. My heart is happy when my students tell me they made their parents eat the vegetables we learned about.
4. What do you enjoy most about working as a dietitian in a hospital environment?
As a dietitian, I assist people in a clinical environment without administering IVs. I enjoy helping people in different disease states but at a distance. I’m not a nurse because I have a weak stomach, but I find case studies engrossing because I enjoy problem-solving.
5. What is the most challenging aspect of your job, and how do you overcome it?
Burnout can happen due to noncompliance. The best way to overcome it is to understand that everyone can make their own decisions.
6. How do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure the best care for your patients?
Be buddies with everyone. If you maintain a good relationship and create an environment for open communication, there is less room for error.
7. What advice would you give to colleagues or those aspiring to become a dietitian in a hospital setting?
You must enjoy working with people and maintain a passion for helping people. If you’re not a people person, this is not your job.
8. What are your hobbies, and what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy short walks to the fridge and making different savory dishes. I am currently into making Korean and South Indian food. Fermented food and curries are the only way for my husband to eat vegetables. My other hobbies that aren’t food-related are hiking, gardening, and powerlifting.