Hey there, nice to see you here! I am thrilled to announce I finally did it. I finally got my doctorate! I am now a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition after successfully defending my 195-page doctoral dissertation last week. This has been a long, hard, amazing road; and it was 1000% worth it. I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many, especially my husband John.
Lessons learned along the way, particularly regarding statistical methods, have intensified my respect and understanding of critically reviewing literature. The biggest eye-opener happened while I was composing my discussion chapter. When I had to interweave my findings throughout the sea of existing research while synthesizing new ideas borne of this fabric, I was enlightened at the complexity of this process. Therefore, when I hear individuals defending their position on XYZ topic on social media, citing “I’ve done the research,” I am deeply offended. I realize there are many definitions of the phrase “doing research,” but still. These days, that term is so flippantly used without the breadth that should uphold it.
The topic of my study concerned the Nutrition Care Process (NCP) in diabetes medical nutrition therapy. I examined the application of the NCP and quality of documentation as it relates to nutrition outcomes. I found concerning discrepancies in how registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are both applying and documenting medical nutrition therapy, which poses a barrier to outcomes research. Outcomes research is critical to demonstrate the value of the RDN in healthcare, and to support insurance reimbursement lobbying. The bottom line is that RDNs need to do a better job with keeping up with evidence-based guidelines, a better job applying the NCP with clear linkages between each step, and they need to apply standardized language (the NCP terminology) in order to capture objective outcomes. Without RDNs committing to do better, the dietetics profession will suffer. If you are an RDN, feel free to contact me for more details!
The other funny turn of events is happening now in the preparation of my study for journal submission. My paper was 195 pages, and ~50,000 words, and the limit for journal publication is roughly 3500 to 5000 words. Back in the day, I remember being so distraught over how I was going to extend certain sentences or phrases to reach the demands of a 500-word essay or a 3-page paper. Now, I am struggling to chisel away at my findings to get to the highlight reel. So far, I’ve deleted 155 pages, and it feels very unsettling to do so.
Anyway, the realization that achieving a terminal degree in my field will STILL not stop the incessant defensive posture necessary against “nutrition influencers” or “nutrition enthusiasts” is a little frustrating. But, it won’t stop me from trying. Ghandi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” So, my job as Dr. Colin is to educate, influence, clear nutrition misinformation, and lead by example. I will do the best I can, while having fun along the way.
Thank you to everyone who has poured into me along this journey, and showered me with support. You made the hard days (and nights) worthwhile. Thank you to those of you who purposely didn’t support me. Those of you who attempted to chop down my ambitions, my education, and my character have been gasoline on my fiery passion. So, everyone played a role in helping me achieve my goals. THANK YOU to you all.
Now, a shameless plug for my books:
Don’t be afraid to CRUSH your dreams, no matter who tries to stop you. Blaze a trail.
Dr. Casey 😉