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Why I Came, Why I Stayed: Dietitian Leiauna Pelster Loves the Collaboration She’s Found at Methodist HospitalPublished: Dec. 1, 2023
In “Why I Came, Why I Stayed,” you’ll get to know people who are making a difference every day at Methodist and how they contribute to providing The Meaning of Care.
Leiauna Pelster, MMN, RDN, LMNT
Tell us more about yourself and your background.
I’m an inpatient clinical dietitian at Methodist Hospital. I primarily work on the oncology floor and in the Methodist Acute Rehabilitation Center. I started at Methodist in March 2022 after completing an internship and graduating with my master’s in medical nutrition therapy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Prior to that, I received my bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (GBR!). I have a passion for clinical nutrition, specifically nutrition support and the impact nutrition has on outcomes, especially in the hospital.
I live in Omaha with my husband, whom I met during college. We both come from very small towns on opposite ends of Nebraska. We both lived on farms and had high school graduating classes of 13 people. Currently, we try our best to travel anywhere and everywhere, with our last trek being a road trip to Glacier National Park. We have plans to hike around Mount Rainier next year.
Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?
Right after graduating, I was ready to jump into the working world. I really wanted to stay in Omaha at a bigger hospital versus moving back to western Nebraska. The opportunities that Methodist could present to me and how the system could help me grow in my new career were really what hooked me. During my interview process, I felt extremely welcomed and had good vibes from the get-go.
Have you had a mentor or colleague at Methodist who made a difference for you?
As a new dietitian coming to Methodist, it was a tricky transition from student to health care professional. Throughout the process, I’ve really turned toward one of our veteran dietitians who heads the ICU and has a wealth of knowledge. Whenever I have a complex patient, I’m usually bouncing ideas off of her to see what she thinks, and she has continuously guided me through these situations.
What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?
I love the culture here at Methodist. Everyone is always so friendly and ready to help out if you have a question. I have a great group of dietitians whom I feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of and asking questions when I’m dealing with complex patient. And they’re overall very supportive when my emotional/mental tank might be running low. They truly make coming to work a joy, which is not very common.
Working on the oncology unit, I’ve come to find another great group of supporters I can always turn to: the social workers, care managers, nurses, pharmacists, et al. I’ve felt welcomed to the unit since day one. I’ve come to build a great bond and trust within the interdisciplinary team, which help extensively and ensure that we’re able to give our patients the best care possible.