Dietetic Career Spotlight: Barb Linneman, MS, RD, LD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on NOVEMBER 14, 2012
Specializing in pediatrics with special needs, this dietitian’s work and passion is extremely close to her heart and her home. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I was always interested in the allied health fields, but nutrition became my passion as I realized how important it is to every aspect of our health and throughout the lifecycle. It didn’t hurt that I love to prepare food and eat it. The ability to make changes in what and how we eat it to positively influence our health just sold me on nutrition and dietetics. Nutrition, especially pediatric nutrition, became more personal passion to me once I had my oldest son who needed nutrition support due to his genetic condition which causes him to be developmentally delayed. The important role of nutrition in the body’s growth and development became a priority in my life and it transformed my professional pursuits and guided me toward pediatric nutrition. My real passion is working with families who have children with special health care needs; these children are very close to my heart.
Your Job Title?
Owner/President of Pediatric Education Dietitian Services, Inc. (PEDS, Inc.)
Company you are with now?
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you.
Get out of bed about 5:30 am to start breakfast for my boys. Finish the mom jobs of getting the boys to school by 7:30 am and hop into the shower. Leave the house about 8:30 am for the office. Enjoy a good morning dose of NPR radio to catch up on the world news and begin the day with some information. Open the office up by 9:00 am, I enjoy getting to my office before the rest of the staff so I can settle in and get organized for the day. Typically, answer voicemail messages and then proceed to emails. See scheduled clients which consists of a variety of nutrition education needs from the infant who needs to gain weight for the cardiac repair to the teenager who was recently diagnosed with fatty liver disease and needs to make real changes in his diet to avoid additional medical complications and overall improve his health. Head for home at the end of the day, hoping I made a difference in the life of a child.
In addition to providing direct education services, I am a preceptor for nutrition interns, provide community lectures, professional trainings in pediatric nutrition and feeding, network with professionals both in and outside the nutrition field and most importantly return to enter my home wearing only my mom hat!
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I started the company in 1996 and was solo until 1998 when I hired my first dietitian as a independent contractor.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born to communicate with people. It is so important to me to be a good listener as well as a good talker. My ability to meet people where they are at and move forward has developed over time in working with families. This is a skill which I work on developing each day. It is so important to be able to break the plan down into steps and develop goals which are attainable. Building on success each step at a time is what seems to work for families and what really helps to make positive lifestyle changes.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
I tell my interns, to find their passion. It takes some reflection to determine what is really going to motivate you and provide you with the much needed determination to not only succeed but to make a difference in this world. I haven’t found a dietician yet who didn’t want to help people and make a difference in their lives.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
More time to spend with those I love. A good massage everyonce in awhile would come in handy too!