Dietetic Career Spotlight on Lily Padilla-Corona
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on DECEMBER 17, 2013
Finding passion in everything you do is Lily Padilla-Corona’s motto. As an expert Diabetes Educator, Lily inspires her clients to make positive changes towards bettering their health and wellness. – Sarah
What attracted you to field of Nutrition and Dietetics?
Striving to live a healthy lifestyle and My LOVE for food led me to follow a career in the Dietetics Field. I still remember picking up my bi-monthly college paper specifically looking for the latest nutrition tips shared to us by a student from the Nutrition and Dietetics field. I entered my Freshmen year in College unsure of what career path to follow, but after a short few months of reading these articles and seeing it was a dietetics student who wrote these, I went directly to the school counselor and said I want to be able to do this some day- “I want to spread the word and provide healthy tips for others to learn and follow a Nutritious lifestyle” and so I signed up for the Bachelors of Science in Nutrition. Until this day, I always look for the health and nutrition section when I read any paper or article. I am forever happy I chose this career.
Your Job Title?
Diabetes Specialist Educator for SHARP Healthcare and
Nutrition Educator for San Diego County Regional Center
Company you are with now?
Sharp Rees- Stealy Health Center and San Diego Regional Center
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
I’m an educator in the Outpatient setting. My schedule includes individual consults with those in need of Nutritional counseling to better manage their blood sugar levels. Referrals vary from those newly diagnosed to those having diabetes for 15+ years and needing a refresher or review of carbohydrate sources or portion control reinforcement.
Another major part of our program are the group classes I hold monthly (English and Spanish are interchangeable every month). Group settings provide its advantages as they allow for interaction between participants and the group diversity enhances learning opportunities from each other. During these visits, I educate my patients about their role on how to improve their diabetes condition. Through our individual sessions or group classes, I provide them with examples of how they can choose a balanced meal that they will both enjoy and learn to keep for proper blood sugar control. I want my patients to know why it is important for them to make changes. I want them to understand diabetes is a condition that is controllable and will allow lifelong quality if they learn how to manage their blood sugar levels correctly.
On a different note, I also provide nutrition consultation (per diem) for those clients with a mental disability. The county of San Diego is able to provide nutritional or therapeutic services as needed either in a county office site or in families home. I am able to visit clients and their families- complete a nutrition assessment and provide dietary suggestions based on their needs. Follow up appointment(s) is granted by the county as needed.
How did you get current job in dietetics?
I learned about both the diabetes educator position and the Nutrition Educator positions through my state dietetics group job listing add. Both these jobs had one thing in common- both asked for Bilingual (English/Spanish) skills required. My diabetes experience at the dyalisis clinic with my bilingual ability was my stepping stone into the diabetes educator position. I was able to combine these two part time roles for 4 years. When I decided to end dyalisis, I was ready to combine diabetes with another role. The nutrition educator role soon came as per diem and have been happy to provide services to these two different populations ever since. I am blessed to say English and Spanish come naturally, therefore that has always been a plus for all my job opportunities. My desire to be involved in different aspects of dietetics has also helped me maintain up to date on different nutrition information.
What skills were you born with and what skills did you learn along the way?
I was born around a VERY close knit family. Spending time to care for one another or simply bonding time is important. I believe this trait is helpful when caring for any chronic condition such as diabetes or a mental disability. Within a family, everyone helps each other and looks out for each other. Many people need hand holding and continuous reinforcement. When I am consulting a patient, my time and focus are theirs and I make sure they feel cared for.
Along the way I have learned to listen more and speak less. No matter how much knowledge you have if a person is not emotionally stable Nutrition and learning about food is not in their minds, people will tune you out!!
What advice you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Don’t stack all eggs in one basket. Be open to combining dietetic roles. Learn different trades. Nutrition and dietetics encompass a wide variety of fields. Most of us entered dietetics based on our desire to help others, I find we can definitely fulfill this desire in the many roles available.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a pay check, what would it be?
When someone simply says “Thank you for your time, this consult or class has made a difference in my life.” I leave the office feeling rejoiced!! Love what I do.