Friday, May 18, 2012

Networking: More Important Than Ever

By Sasha B. Bard, MS (Dietetic Intern)

Last Saturday I got to attend and present at the DCMADA (DC Metro Area Dietetic Association) Annual Meeting. The topic of the meeting was "The Role of the Licensed Nutrition Expert: More Important Than Ever."

Six of the UMD College Park Interns, including myself, had abstracts selected and were asked to give poster presentations at the meeting. My abstract and poster featured a case study I did during my clinical rotation at Baltimore Washington Medical Center titled "Medical Nutrition Therapy for Preterm Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome."

All nine of the students with selected abstracts were given the opportunity to display their projects in a student poster presentation area at the meeting. In between speakers and on breaks the dietitians at the meeting stopped by to look at the posters, ask questions, and discuss our projects. This was a great opportunity to meet dietetic practitioners in the area (old and new). The sponsor of the student poster presentation was a 50 year member of DCMADA!

Although I enjoyed the presenters, I believe the most beneficial part of this type of event is the networking. Getting to know other area dietitians and building a network of colleagues is an essential part of becoming a professional. There is so much to learn from the RDs that have walked the path before us and that walk it with us. Events like the DCMADA Annual Meeting are a perfect opportunity to connect and gain allies in the field. Every moment can be used for networking- at registration, during breaks, at lunch, talking to exhibitors, even standing in line for the bathroom.

I personally had a great time interacting with fellow interns (from UMCP as well as other programs) who will be essential connections for the rest of my career. I also reconnected with RDs who were preceptors of mine earlier in the year and made new connections as well. I think that one crucial "Role of the Licensed Nutrition Expert" that is "More Important Than Ever" is networking!

**Also, be sure to check out Rachel Coury's recent blog post on her experience at DCMADA's Annual Meeting.