Alumni Spotlight with Devon Cassidy, RN, MSN, RWP
Restorative Wellness Practitioner Devon Cassidy has always had a passion for helping others pursue health and wellness. She started her career as a Registered Nurse, serving 5 years with the Marines and Navy before working for a period of time in the ER. As a nurse, Devon loved working with patients and learned a lot. However, she didn’t feel she was able to make the impact she wanted on the lives of those she served…which eventually led her to discover the world of functional nutrition.
After completing her Masters in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2020, Devon enrolled in Restorative Wellness Solutions’ Level 1 class – Mastering the Art & Science of Gastrointestinal Healing. “It was exactly the curriculum I was looking for – it was all the missing pieces I needed to feel ready to start seeing clients,” says Devon. “We learned about digestion in our Masters classes, but not in the way RWS teaches it. The concepts I learned in Level 1 – the importance of digestive enzymes, how the pancreas works and its role in digestion, the purpose of bile, what different intestinal markers mean – all of this was so important in helping me understand exactly what my clients need and why. I finally had the confidence I needed to help people and make a real impact.”
Coming out of the Level 1 class, Devon spent a lot of time on gut healing – both her own and those of her clients – with great success. She recalls one client in particular who was suffering from chronic microscopic colitis. At only 30 years old, the client hadn’t had a normal bowel movement in 8 years and was on a fast track to have her colon removed. Devon took a nutrition-first approach in working with this client, running a GI-MAP and MRT test and developing a custom protocol. The result? Within months the client was having regular normal bowel movements, was enjoying more energy, and was finally absorbing her nutrients and able to put weight back on.
But, it was RWS’ Level 2 class – Mastering the Art & Science of Hormone Optimization that changed the game for Devon personally. “I had been on and off birth control for years. After stopping in 2017, I went three years without a menstrual cycle. It wasn’t until I completed Level 2 that I was able to identify and heal my own hormonal imbalances. Within three months of completing Level 2, I was back to a normal menstrual cycle.”
One of Devon’s favorite tools she’s learned from RWS has been the wellness triad – the combination of food and supplements, lifestyle, and inner landscape that ultimately impact your client’s physical, mental, and emotional health. “Food and supplements can only get you so far in the process – it’s so important to take into account other factors that could be impacting your clients,” says Devon.
In fact, Devon says using the RWS wellness triad has been core to her clients’ success as it helps them stay motivated and accountable. Below are some of Devon’s favorite strategies – all of which you can used in your own work with clients to encourage compliance and get better results:
Recognize that every client is different: Understanding this and accepting it as a practitioner is the very first step. While it can feel challenging to create custom protocols when you are just starting out, it’s important to commit to an individualized approach for each client. Devon credits RWS with making this doable and giving her the tools she needed to create highly targeted, personalized protocols.
Be flexible: Healing is not linear, which can be hard for both practitioners and clients to remember. Sometimes that means you need to change your lens and take a different approach to help your clients heal – including looking into the lifestyle and inner landscape elements of the wellness triad that could be keeping a client stuck. Devon notes that the wellness triad concept has been key in helping her identify what’s blocking certain clients from healing. And, she’s better equipped to coach her clients through these blocks with success.
Make sure your clients feel seen, heard, and understood: Most clients have seen many other health practitioners – with little or no success – before finding you. As a result, Devon stresses the importance of listening to your clients and making them feel supported. “The wellness triad has been so helpful for getting to know my clients and help them feel understood on a deeper level, which supports a better working relationship and better outcomes,” says Devon. “Some clients need more time, some clients need more frequent check-ins, some clients need more coaching and others just need a cheerleader.”
Keep it simple and celebrate every success: Devon works with her clients to break down new habits and protocols into tiny, bite-sized goals. She then makes a point to follow-up with her clients and celebrate every success – even those that may seem small. And, when clients fall off track, Devon asks them “What can I do to help you get back on track?”. With a deeper understanding of her clients and how factors other than food or supplements might be affecting their healing journey, Devon is able to show up as more than just a provider – she can show up as a true partner for them. In fact, Devon makes it a point to have weekly check-ins with all of her clients where she offers encouragement and answers any questions. “This is so important given the healing takes time and sometimes things get worse before they get better,” says Devon, “I want to be there to help them through it.”
Help your clients stay focused on the bigger picture: In response to the wellness triad concept Devon learned through RWS, she now has all of her clients write down 2-3 reasons the work they are doing together is important to them. She reminds her clients frequently throughout their work together of their “why”, especially when they are deep in a protocol and may be struggling with compliance, consistency, or uncomfortable symptoms. She also coaches her clients to incorporate a gratitude practice and daily journaling as part of their protocol, which she cites has been critical to many clients’ successes.
Looking back on the last two years, Devon is so grateful she made the decision to pursue her career in functional nutrition and invest in becoming a Restorative Wellness Practitioner. “I remember being so confused and uncertain when I first started out in Nutrition, but the RWS program gave me the confidence and the skills I needed to finally create positive, lasting change in the lives of my clients,” says Devon. “If anyone is on the fence, I tell them to do it – the program is so valuable and insightful.”
Interested in making an impact like Devon? Be sure to apply for our Level 1 class – Mastering the Art & Science of Gastrointestinal Healing. In less than 12 weeks, you’ll gain the skills and confidence you need to get your clients life-changing results.
Devon Cassidy is a Restorative Wellness Practitioner who sees clients in a number of capacities, including as a practitioner within the RWP-owned The Healthy Gut Club and as a resident functional nutrition expert for the holistic health clinic, Acushen, in Houston, TX. You can find Devon on Instagram at @dev_on_nutrition.