Kristin Mortensen

Kristin Mortensen

Kristin MIndustry: Nutrition, Public Health, Wellness, Music Education
Expertise: Maternal and Child Nutrition, Writing, Teaching
Position: Registered Dietitian & Piano Teacher
Company: Self-employed
Hours: Part-time; 10 – 15 hours weekly
Education: BS degree in Dietetics from Brigham Young University
Residence: Phoenix, Arizona
Hobbies: Running, Quilting, Reading, Traveling

Education and Career Background

I graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics after completing a coordinated undergraduate program (coursework and internship combined) and passed the registered dietician exam shortly thereafter. I worked as a clinical dietitian in a small, rural hospital in southern Arizona for a year and a half before serving my mission to the Dominican Republic. When I returned from my mission, I worked as a consulting dietitian and WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) coordinator for a migrant community health center in the Phoenix area. When my children were born, I decided to work part-time and eventually began consulting for various organizations writing training manuals, doing nutrition counseling, writing nutrition curriculum, and writing nutrition articles for online companies. I was also asked by friends if I would teach their children piano which started my piano teaching career.

Current

I currently consult for a WIC program in southern Arizona providing their high-risk nutrition counseling. I write nutrition articles for an online company and occasionally write nutrition curriculum when the opportunity arises. I continue teaching piano lessons a couple of days a week.

Tips and Advice

I chose my career as a dietitian because I knew it would be one that I could work as much or as little as I wanted, depending on what my circumstances would be in life. I find the field of nutrition interesting and love teaching others how to be healthy. I also love music and seeing the excitement on my students’ faces when they learn to play a song on the piano. My advice is to choose a career you enjoy. Stay in contact with coworkers even after you stop working together. You never know when you might be able to offer each other opportunities. Stay current in your field, even if you aren’t working. I remember two women who were enrolled in a course at BYU with us who had allowed their registration to lapse. Their kids were grown, and they wanted to re-enter the workforce so they had to take college classes and re-take the registration exam. It was extremely stressful for them.

Mentoring

I have been blessed to work with some amazing people throughout my career from college professors to bosses and co-workers. Not only have they taught me about the field of nutrition, but they have taught me how to be a professional. My first boss taught me how to successfully work with doctors, even when we didn’t always agree. Another boss taught me how to be a good manager. My husband has been a great source of support and business advisor as I’ve worked for myself for the last several years.

2 Comments on “Kristin Mortensen

  1. Hi Kirsten,
    I’m a RD out of Kansas City, also graduated from BYU, also have a couple of young kids and work part-time as a clinical dietitian in a hospital. I just love getting out of the house once or twice a week and talking to grown-ups! And it turns out, I’m a singer/songwriter myself, though guitar is my instrument, not piano. I feel like we have a lot in common.

    If you don’t mind, I would love for you to expand on how you began pursuing a career as a consultant RD, working for yourself, and how you swung that with kids. Since I’m already working, I have daycare all figured out, but I have been in the hospital setting for 7 years and am feeling pretty unchallenged, but it’s hard to jump into and then master something totally new when it’s going to only be 1-2 days per week. I have a Master’s in Dietetic Administration- it taught me how to manage, and I love teaching, and I especially love one-on-one counseling, but I’m doing none of that in my current position. Any advice you could give me about how to market yourself as a consultant RD and how to find clients would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
    Karina

    • Karina,
      I have to admit, my consulting career came by accident. A couple of months after my first child was born, I realized half my income was going to pay for child care and taxes. I decided to stay home full-time with her. A few months later, I got a call from a company who was automating the WIC system in our state and asked if I’d be interested in helping with the training 1 week/month since I’d worked for WIC for the past 5 years. I agreed. That job turned into a writing job for training manuals for WIC systems in various states for the same company.

      A few years later, my previous employer asked if I’d be willing to come back as a consultant doing outpatient nutrition counseling. I agreed and then was asked to do high risk nutrition counseling for a small WIC agency, which I did for several years. I was fortunate that my husband’s job was flexible and he could stay home with our kids on days that I worked.

      During this time, a former colleague contacted me and asked if I’d help her on various writing projects. I found I loved writing more than counseling, so was excited about the opportunity. We worked together on projects on and off over a few years and still stay in contact.
      Just recently, I heard from the first company I consulted for asking if I’d help write WIC training manuals again. So I’ll be doing that for the next couple of months.

      The key for me has been staying in contact with friends, coworkers and colleagues. I’m really good about sending out Christmas cards every year and that’s how I’ve stayed in touch. Most of my jobs have been work-from-home jobs so I haven’t had to worry about childcare. My consulting jobs are sporadic so my income isn’t steady, but I’m fortunate that my husband’s job pays the bills. Mine pays for vacations and extracurricular activities for my kids. If you’re looking for something more reliable, ask other RDs for their ideas. I hope that helps. Good luck to you.

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