Dietetic Career Spotlight: Karen Louise Scheuner, MA, RD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MAY 14, 2013
Getting paid to have lunch with your clients and your referral sources? Karen Scheuner has found her niche while counseling, too. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
My love of food and science. I grew up in a family food business, so I have always had a deep appreciation for food, and it’s effect on our well being and its significance as a social and cultural connector.
Your Job Title?
Nutrition therapist / Eating disorder dietitian
Company you are with now?
self employed and consulting
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I have two typical days. The first is a day of private practice where I meet with anywhere from 3 to up to 8 clients a day. I have an office in San Francisco and in Oakland. I usually meet for 30 min. or 60 min. sessions. A lot of my time is also spend in preparing and spending time calling doctors, therapists who are involved in the treatment team. I eat a lot with my clients. I go out to restaurant and eat burgers and fries with them! All kinds of food.
My second typical day is going to La Ventana (eating disorder program in SF), where I meet with clients individually, eat lunch with clients, teach a weekly nutrition education group and lead a cooking skills group, and I take them grocery shopping. I also collaborate with therapists in this program. I work there part-time.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I knew I wanted to work with eating disorders before I even had my RD credential, so I went to a workshop training led by Anita Johnson and Carolyn Costin (eating disorder experts in the field), and made some connections there that led me to my first job as an eating disorder dietitian. I do a lot of networking at eating disorder conferences as well.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born a good listener, a natural therapist; my temperament leans more on the introversion scale, which allows for a greater degree of sensitivity with an ability to read other people’s emotions/feelings; I’m highly sensitive and intuitive.
Skills I have learned include having more patience with the change process, establishing good boundaries, pro-active communication skills, negotiating skills, business and marketing skills, self-care practices (such as meditation, yoga) to avoid burn out.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Don’t think about making money. Think about finding what you find ‘juicy’; something that gets you fired up, your passion, your bliss. And go out in the world and do it. Take the leap, and then the money will follow. And, be selfish. Take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. Make time for yoga, walks, tea with friends, sleep, play, cooking, relaxing.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Can it have a monetary value? Interesting question! I think I would choose being paid with free time to spend with family, friends and free travel vouchers/free miles, so I can travel all over the world when I’m not working!