Recently my colleagues had a funny email exchange about all of the various names we’ve been called over the years. I’m sure that dietitians aren’t the only health professionals who laugh about this – as I’m sure anyone wearing a white lab coat in a hospital has a story. In addition, I know many doctors who may be quite certain the patient they just visited in the hospital does not know what their specialty is, or even why they visited them. Of course I’m not blaming the patient, being in the hospital is a stressful experience.
Anyhow, here’s a round up of the various names dietitians have been called:
- Diabetic Intern
- “Hey Dietary!” (The louder the better. Voted most annoying)
- Food Lady
- Food Police
- Belly Robber
- Vegetable Evangelist
And then there’s a favorite of Julie Satterfeal, MS, RDN, LD, when her son declared to his sister,
“…you have to drink your milk, because mom is a healthyologist!”
Or this one from Danielle Heuseveldt, RD LDN CHWC,
“Once I ran into a high school friend and told him I was studying dietetics. He replied ‘you mean that book by L. Ron Hubbard?’ Um, no.” (yeah, he’s the founder of “Scientology”)
For the most part, these crazy names for dietitians come up all over the place. But in a hospital setting, like the one I worked in during the 1980s and 90s, dietitians and many health practitioners wear white lab coats. So the next time you are in a hospital, and see people walking around in white lab coats, don’t assume. Ask. They could be a doctor, nurse, dietitian, nurse’s aid, lab technician, and more.
My colleague Melissa Joy Dobbins created her own t-shirts to confirm that we are not the food police!
Whatever you do, don’t call me Dietary. And yes, I went to school for this.