A Conversation with: Erin Burke, MS, RDN, LDN
Role at Avance: Clinical Dietitian/Nutritionist
Years at Avance Care: 2
My first job: Cashier at Wegmans, a supermarket chain in the Northeast
Why primary care: I have the opportunity to truly help patients make a difference in their health and their lives. In the hospital environment, dietitians are so limited in the time they can spend educating patients. This is unfortunate because there is so much conflicting information out there in the media! In primary care, I have more time to help patients understand what is going on in their bodies and explain how nutrition can play a role.
Why I love Avance Care: Everyone I interact with is motivated to learn and do the best for their patients. I know I can ask questions and my colleagues will be happy to help and provide support. The patients I work with are always so happy to hear that they can stay at Avance Care to get the care that they need – it is one less medical office to navigate.
If I wasn’t a dietitian I would be: The owner of a day spa, but instead of normal spa services, I would have puppies to snuggle with and freshly brewed tea to sip. More realistically (maybe?) it would be cool to be an author or run some kind of community garden. The little bit of gardening I have done in my life has been really enjoyable and relaxing!
My favorite part of nutrition is: How complex and imperfect it is. The human body is amazing in how it has so many checks and balances in place to help our bodies absorb the nutrients it needs. I love how vitamins and minerals all work synergistically to maintain homeostasis and, at the same time, the body can make use of alternative sources if the situation demands. I love how we can use research to figure out almost “exactly” what our bodies’ need, but then at the end of the day, it’s the small lifestyle changes that make the biggest impacts on our health.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: My passion for nutrition, apparently. Also, dogs, beer, and running. Or tell me about your favorite places to travel to – I love hearing about that.
How I connect to patients: I ask them about dogs, beer, and running…. I kid. But if it comes up, then yes. Mostly, I find out what is important to them. Often it is not meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking! Showing someone that you recognize what is important to them and that you are not going to “take that away” will go a long way in building trust.
The one piece of medical advice I tell my patients but have a difficult time incorporating into my own life: Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. I’m constantly working on changing that mindset!
If I have a three-day weekend, I can be found: Visiting family/friends out of state, checking out other cool cities or places in North Carolina, or staying home to do yard work and relax with my dog and fiancé.
The four people I would invite to my ultimate dinner party: My best girlfriends from high school/college – it is so refreshing when we finally catch up.