We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Griffin, MS, RDN, CNSC and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sara, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?

I moved to Denver for a dietetic internship. I was re-entering the dietetics world after almost two years working in and managing restaurants. I was very nervous about the clinical aspect of my internship. I had to spend at least 8 weeks in a hospital, caring for patients. I was terrified. I certainly did not excel in this portion of my internship, but I learned many valuable lessons.

After the internship, I got a job at the same hospital, doing inpatient clinical work. I started precepting interns about a year later. I felt very insecure about my skills, but I tried to overcompensate with lots of fake confidence. Some of my interns needed to learn more about nutrition support (tube feeding and nutrition through the veins, which we call parenteral nutrition). I looked for a course I could direct my interns to so they could learn at their own pace. When I couldn’t find such a course, I decided to build my own.

I had this idea for a few years and always thought, it would be fun to build something like this, but I am not a business person and don’t know the first thing about selling or marketing a product. In April 2020, our hospital was hit with numerous COVID waves. I was working full time in a COVID ICU, finishing my Masters’ degree in nutrition online, and isolating from everyone. I cancelled all social activities, trips, and my bachelorette party. I knew had to put all my nervous energy into a project.

It is remarkable how much free time you have when you don’t leave the house, except to work. I spent hundreds of hours building a curriculum for my nutrition support course. I figured I could sell it to my interns for $50 and have some extra coffee money. My husband encouraged me to think much bigger.

Fast forward three years and my course now has dozens of students. I sold my first international course in 2020 and my second in 2021. I partner with several internship programs to host nutrition support crash courses, where I work with interns to build their confidence before they embark on their clinical rotations.

I still think often about what a nervous, under-prepared intern I was. How much time I spent building this curriculum in a time when the world was falling apart, and how important it was for me to focus on something big during that very tumultuous time. I never thought I would be a clinical dietitian, because I was scared of hospitals. I never thought I would be an entrepreneur, because I knew nothing about business or marketing. And, yet, here we are.

Sara, Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

As a terrified, under-prepared clinical dietetic intern, I dreamed that one day I could write flawless tube feeding prescriptions and whip up the perfect parenteral nutrition order in under an hour. It’s funny to think about that now. I had zero confidence in my clinical skills and I struggled to re-learn things I had already forgotten from my undergraduate classes.

I don’t think I am especially courageous (delete tenacious), but I was very persistent in the early part of my career. I learned to be gentle with my shortcomings and gracious with my failures. This helped me be gentle and gracious to others, which is an important trait as an educator.

I teach community college classes online now. My students are sometimes surprised when I ask to meet with them and I say, tell me what’s going on. Why are you struggling so much? They are nervous and know they have disappointed me. I tell them I am not concerned about what happened in the past. I ask them if they would like to work with me on a plan to help them be successful in the future. What have they learned? What will they do differently next time? How can I help? Everyone needs someone to be kind and gentle to them.

I often tell my students that I am less concerned about where they end up after our time together ends, and much more concerned about the progress they make along the way. I demand respect, but I respect their time as well. I encourage them to identify areas where they need additional help or instruction and come to me with questions before they become roadblocks.

A student can have all the knowledge in the world, but if they lack confidence, their knowledge is useless.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A bike ride down the Cherry Creek Trail to the downtown REI. It’s far enough to be exciting and close enough to be doable in a morning. Stroll up and down Pearl Street on those long, summer evenings (go on a weeknight, it’s less crowded). Hike Mt. Galbraith on a clear, cool day for a stunning view of Denver. For the adventurous, a sunrise hike of Mt. Sniktau will not disappoint. Bring blueberry muffins and good coffee.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dietitian bestie Greta has always been my biggest cheerleader. She has that kind of quiet, steady presence that you don’t always realize you need, but you certainly know what it feels like when you don’t have it. She is an incredible friend.

My husband John brings so much joy and encouragement to my life, and was the catalyst behind my business. He pushed me to dream big.

The interns I precepted in my early days as a nutrition support dietitian, when I had barely enough knowledge and skills to pass. They asked intelligent questions and kept me on my toes.

Website: www.edge-clinical.com

Instagram: @edge_clinical

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.