King's Daughters Medical Center: Community Nutrition, Weeks 3 & 4

Another two weeks down in my community rotation and I am still learning at just as rapid pace as I did in the first two weeks; not only learning more, but getting to experience more as well. The three main activities that I got to enjoy in these last two weeks were attending the KAND conference, attending a nutrition-focused physical exam seminar, and having the opportunity to enhance my on-on-one counseling skills with the surgical weight loss patients.

It was so nice to be able to see everyone who went to the KAND conference. I was able to meet up with my classmates and talk about how our internships were going. Some of them had more pleasant stories than others, but it was all apart of the learning process and they were hopeful for the future rotations. We were able to enjoy some amazing presenters who talked about a plethora of different subjects from dealing with IBS patients to learning how to properly taste multiple bourbon samples. There was a ton of networking and just all-around positive emotions that were spread throughout the conference. It was great to “nerd out” with fellow peers who were passionate about the same thing – food. I was also extremely surprised when I found out I had won the Outstanding Dietetic Student Award by the KAND committee. I was overwhelmed with joy and honored to receive it. This is a competency I think I did well on: CRDN 2.9 Participate in community and professional organizations.

The second activity I got to partake in was the seminar for the nutrition-focused physical exam. My preceptor and a few other of the dietitians from the hospital decided they wanted to go to earn the CEU’s and they asked if it was okay if I could tag along. So when I found out I got the green light, I was pretty pumped because this is a new field of expertise in the dietetic world. According Pogatshnik et al. (2011), a nutrition-focused physical examination (NFPE) can help dietitians create a more effective care plan and determine appropriate interventions for patients receiving nutrition support. Laboratory findings are often inconclusive, and physical assessment can help to identify nutritional abnormalities. Dietitians can increase their proficiency in clinical skills by learning physical assessment techniques. The seminar was held in Huntington, WV and lasted about 4 hours. The presenter was a clinical dietitian who has had years of experience and did an amazing job presenting and answering any questions that the other dietitians had. We got to learn about how to assess each area of the NFPE and we even got to spend some time practicing with the others in the audience. They had a case study example that we got to navigate through and try to diagnose the patient provided. It was a fun day and we got to experience a ton of good information that we can put into practice as this subject starts to become more and more of the norm.

Finally, the last activity I was able to participate in was the surgical weight loss counseling. In the last two weeks, the dietitians on staff let me shadow them and sit in on sessions with their patients. I didn’t usually say much and I got to soak in all the information because it was all new for me, too. However, this time I got to perform the initial assessment on the bariatric patients that came in for surgery. These are the patients who were there for their very first time and all I basically had to do was ask questions about their history. These questions could be about what diets they have tried before, why they want to do the surgery, if they’re ready for long-term changes, etc. This task was just hard enough for me to get my feet wet with handling a counseling session by myself. The goal is to eventually go through an assessment all by myself, but there is still a lot of material for me to go through in the surgical weight loss handbook, so I will need a little more time before I can flow through the entire hour-long assessment without any other guidance. This is a competency I would like to improve on: CRDN 3.6 Use effective education and counseling skills to facilitate behavior change.

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It still flabbergasts (love that word) me how quickly these weeks have been going by. To think that I am already more than halfway through my second rotation of this internship is astounding. It has been such a great time and I’ve enjoyed learning from my preceptors immensely. I am excited to finish this rotation up and enter into what comes next – foodservice. 


References:

1. Pogatshnik, C, Hamilton, C. Nutrition-focused physical examination: skin, nails, hair, eyes, and oral cavity. Support Line. 2011;33(2):7-13.