Caitlyn Sward, registered dietitian in the Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, has been named employee of the month for July by Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH).
Sward began her career as a certified registered dietitian/registered dietitian nutritionist at Day Kimball Hospital in 2019 after graduating with a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from the University of Connecticut.
In her role, Sward is responsible for providing nutrition counseling to cancer patients in the hematology/oncology department. Earlier this year, she obtained her Cancer Exercise Specialist certification and looks forward to providing exercise recommendations and personal training to patients receiving active treatment and those in remission. Sward also oversees Caitlyn’s Cupboard, a hospital-based food pantry she established in March of 2020 to address malnutrition and food insecurity among patients treated in DKH’s Cancer Center.
According to Sward’s supervisor, Jayme Dandeneau, RN, BSN, oncology nurse navigator in the Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center at Day Kimball Hospital, “Caitlyn is a breath of fresh air and her courtesy towards her colleagues and patients is contagious. She meets every day and every cancer patient with enthusiasm and respect. She provides excellent patient care and helps patients overcome barriers all with a positive attitude. Caitlyn is an employee who elevates the department and is incredibly deserving of this award.”
In response to being named employee of the month, Sward said, “I was quite surprised to be named Employee of the Month, but also excited! I have worked tirelessly to build this nutrition program and it’s wonderful for others to recognize my hard work.”
When asked what she likes most about her job, she shared, “The tangible effect I can have on patients. In many positions throughout the field, dietitians are often left feeling like second-rate healthcare professionals. This job is different – not only does my role actively impact the course of treatment, but patients often want my expertise. A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and sends people on a journey that they have limited control over; nutrition is one of the only things they still have autonomy over and it’s an amazing feeling to help empower patients to take back a bit of control in an otherwise overwhelming experience. It’s not just the patients that make this job enjoyable, but the people that I work with make me feel valued and knowledgeable. Being able to make a difference in the lives of patients while also being respected by your peers is something I could only dream of prior to getting this job.”
A Northeast Connecticut native, Sward was born at Day Kimball Hospital and currently resides in East Putnam. She is a member of the QVR Rotaract Club and is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer, ACE and CETI Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist, ACE Youth Exercise Specialist, and an NASM MMA Conditioning Specialist.
Sward is currently working towards becoming a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician and is pursuing board certification as a specialist in oncology nutrition. She also owns and operates Sward and Shield LLC, where affordable, inclusive nutrition counseling and physical activity services are provided to those living in Northeast Connecticut.
Day Kimball Healthcare’s employee of the month program is sponsored by Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. “The Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods Resort Casino has been focused on taking care of the people that serve within our community, and we appreciate everything Day Kimball Healthcare does,” said Foxwood’s Director of Sponsorships and Partnerships Roy Colebut-Ingram. “Supporting meaningful employee recognition programs like that at DKH is just one way that we feel we can express our appreciation.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Day Kimball Healthcare’s Employee of the Month for July 2021, Caitlyn Sward, RDN, in the Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, Connecticut.