These past two weeks of my community rotation have given me the full spectrum of differing workloads. Some days I was doing busy work at the office and other days I was giving a nutrition presentation to the diabetes support group. Or, in the past few days, I was in Lexington meeting with my classmates and offering mentorship to the younger CP students. So I’ve been all over the place learning new things, but also teaching others at the same time. These activities have given me the opportunity to see both sides as a student and a mentor.
The first “activity”, if you can call it an activity, was the busy work my preceptor had me do. Typically when I come in to work, I sit in on the surgical weight loss assessments and the diabetes counseling with the patients who come through the Center for Healthy Living. However, since I do this every single day, my preceptor knew of something else I could do. They have a large amount of surgical weight loss evaluations that have not been filed and alphabetized in their appropriate folders –this became my new task for a few days. I feel like it would be common for most people to be annoyed and see this as busy work, but I saw it as realistic and practical. Whatever career I pursue, I will likely have to endure some type of “busy work” that will be necessary for me to do my job correctly.
The second activity I experienced in the past two weeks was having the opportunity to teach the diabetes support group. This is a monthly support group that has been going on for years and my preceptor allowed me to teach the first half of the class. The main topic I focused on was eating healthy on the go. This included eating at airports, eating at the gas station, packing for staying at a hotel, having healthy snacks readily available, and more. I also touched on the importance of fiber intake for diabetics. Post et al. (2012) showed that an intervention involving fiber supplementation for type 2 diabetes mellitus can reduce fasting blood glucose and HbA1c. This suggests that increasing dietary fiber in the diet of patients with type 2 diabetes is beneficial and should be encouraged as a disease management strategy. The class consisted of 10-15 people over the age of 55 in a fairly informal classroom-type setting. This was a competency I felt I did really well on - CRDN 3.4 Design, implement and evaluate presentations to a target audience.
Finally, the last activity involved heading up to Lexington to meet up with all my classmates and Mrs. Combs and Mr. Schwartz. This was a great time to catch up with every one and see how their internships were going. It was also really interesting to listen to all the presentations from each student. Our respective research proposals and case study’s from our MNT rotations were the focus over the two days. I believe I did okay with presenting my research proposal, but it showed me that I needed to work on competency CRDN 1.3 Justify programs, products, services and care using appropriate evidence or data. My research takes place in my current outpatient setting and part of the research involves assessing the current validity of our weight loss programs here. By being aware of available research on my topic and the differing programs out there will allow me to assess more accurately.
Overall, the last two weeks has provided me an opportunity to enhance my public speaking and presentation skills, while also reminding me that you sometimes have to do the “dirty work” that is required to get the job done. One is not more important than another and both are crucial to developing a well-rounded set of skills as a dietitian.
1. Post RE, Mainous AG, King DE, Simpson KN Dietary fiber for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis. J Am Board Fam Med 2012;25:16–23.