We got a chance to talk to the incredible Natalie Gavi, RD! Natalie is the founder of Gavi Nutrition, a private practice that opened earlier this year, and a recent graduate of her dietetic internship. She talked to us about the process of opening a practice, choosing your ideal client demographic, and how RDs can work with technology. Welcome to the Healthie community, Natalie!
Tell us about your path to becoming a registered dietitian.
I have been interested in health and wellness for as long as I can remember. Healthy food was always incorporated into my childhood and lifestyle: my dad always had a garden and my parents actually transitioned from white bread and mayonnaise to all the healthy stuff when I was young – at first I hated it, but that didn’t last too long. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be lawyer for financial security and other reasons and I wasn’t familiar with a career in dietetics until three years into the program. When I realized that’s what I wanted to do, I took my science prerequisities and went from there!
What is your approach to nutritional care?
It’ll be interesting to see the direction personalization of care goes through with nutrigenomics. I really like approaching each individual on their own and giving them the care that they need, rather than blanket solutions for everyone or faddy approaches. I like to remain in touch with my clients, and I like them to know that I’m always available and that i’m just an e-mail, text, or phone call away.
How did you know that you were ready to start a private practice?
Since completing my DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics), it’s been something that I have wanted to do. In my mind, I thought I had to do the traditional clinical practice then transition to my own practice. However, after my internship, finding a clinical job has been more difficult, so I figured that I may as well start my practice now and get it up and running. I researched everything that I had to do, and went from there.
What’s been the biggest challenge in starting your practice so far?
It’s been difficult figuring out exactly who I want to work with. Over the short few months that I’ve had my business, I’ve fully narrowed it down so I have a better idea, but it still may not be the exact demographic. I’m still learning the best way to market myself and how to build my brands and a network of other healthcare providers.
What advice do you have for RDs who are thinking about private practice but haven’t yet made the leap?
If you are really interested and it’s what you want to do, you just have to hit the ground running and do it. There really isn’t any right or wrong; you just have to dive in. That’s what took me so long to start – I wanted everything to be perfect, but I learned that it won’t be and you just have to roll with it.
Why do you think being an RD is important? How can people in the field better connect with regular people?
There are so many “nutritionists” and self-proclaimed health experts out there who don’t have the credentials, experience, and knowledge, but they have the sales and marketing parts down. It’s so important for us to actually be the professionals that people come to instead of having them go to bloggers and people that don’t actually have expertise.
Why do you think RDs should embrace technology?
That’s the direction that the entire world has gone, and healthcare is no different. With Telehealth on the rise and the presence of social media in our lives, as a field, we have to embrace it and really figure out the best way to incorporate that into our private practices.
What is your fave feature on Healthie so far?
There’s a lot! I love the schedule and implementing it on your website – it just makes booking that much easier. I love the fact that you can have your clients pick their packages directly off the site; it takes the awkwardness around payment and asking for cash, a check, or PayPal out of the picture, so I really enjoy that part. I’ve been also having a lot of fun with the app and messaging.
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