Thursday, June 21, 2012

Here we are.

One day away from graduation.

We've worked hard.

And we're ready.

To take the next step.

To become RDs.

Thanks to all of the wonderful preceptors that helped us along.

And thanks to each intern. We walked this path together.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Navigating through the Renal Diet

By: Rachel Coury

Ask any dietetic intern what the most difficult diet to counsel patients on is and they'll likely say the renal diet. The reason? It's very restrictive and challenging to navigate through. One of the biggest accomplishments I've had this internship year was learning the ins and outs of the renal diet and counseling patients on how to follow it. The renal diet is a meal plan designed for patients with chronic kidney disease. Because these patient's kidneys are failing, they need to limit their intake of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and fluid. Patient's on dialysis also need to make sure they are intaking enough protein to meet the increased demand on their bodies. This past week I had the pleasure of spending time in a dialysis clinic. I gained practice in giving patients diet educations, reviewing their lab values, and developing nutrition resources.

One of the problems the dietitian noticed was that during the summer her patient's phosphorus and potassium lab values tended to skyrocket. She also noticed that summer was a time of social gatherings: BBQs, graduation celebrations, cookouts, picnics and many fresh fruits and vegetables are in season. Coincidence? We think not. My partner and I developed a resource on ways for clients to keep their phos and potassium levels in check while still attending these events. During the process we learned many "safe serving sizes" of some cookout foods that are high in these nutrients:

  • Corn on the cob: medium ear (~6 inches long)
  • Beans: 1/3 cup
  • Watermelon: 1 thin slice 
  • Mac and Cheese: 1/3 cup
  • Greens: 1/2 cup (chose collards/mustard greens over spinach/swiss chard)
Hopefully the education and resources we provided will help the patients follow their diet during the summertime. I had a great week at the dialysis clinic and found it to be a rewarding experience. Thanks to lots of practice counseling patients and an amazing preceptor, the renal diet doesn't seem so scary to me anymore. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday MyPlate!

Angela A. Farris, MA 

For my 5 week information management and technology rotation I had the opportunity to intern at the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). CNPP's mission is to improve the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs to consumers. As a consumer, it is easiest to relate CNPP as the creator of 'MyPlate' icon and the former 'MyPyramid' icon.  
I spent my time with the incredible Nutrition Marketing and Communications Team. The MyPlate icon was first launched with the help of First Lady Michelle Obama on June 1, 2011 -- so while I was at CNPP everyone was prepping for MyPlate's first birthday celebration June 1, 2012! A special microsite on was dedicated to the birthday bash. Check out the site here: Celebrate with MyPlate

During my time at CNPP I felt that staff members utilized my abilities by delegating projects at a steady pace to keep me busy and productive. I really felt that I was able to apply my nutrition background as well as my information technology skills during this rotation. It was a great opportunity. Happy Birthday MyPlate!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Looking Forward to Elective Week Rotation!

By Joyce L. Hornick, Dietetic Intern

I can’t believe I am almost at the end of my internship and that means elective week is just around the corner! The elective week is an opportunity for interns to explore any realm of dietetics they want. Some interns explore a new opportunity they didn’t get to experience during the internship, such as private practice. Since some rotations are only a week long, some interns return for a more in-depth experience. Some interns choose an elective where they may have a direct connection for a job opening or to expand their networking. The possibilities to explore are vast. 

I decided that I wanted to return to where I first started the internship, Moveable Feast, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and groceries to people with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and blood cancers. Even though it was a 3 week rotation, I wanted to go back to learn more. When I was there in September, I got the opportunity to counsel patients via telephone interviews. I was very uneasy at this since I had only done “counseling” in the classroom in role play simulations. Most interns go to Moveable Feast after they’ve done their clinical rotation, so they’ve been able to hone their assessment skills over 10-12 weeks. I hope to do some phone interviews again to see how I’ve grown in my ability to perform assessments. I know I will be more confident, will be able to take what the client tells me to quickly make suggestions for change, and help set goals to help maintain or improve their nutrition status. 

I am also looking forward to new learning opportunities available at Moveable Feast. Back in September, due to funding constraints, Moveable Feast wasn’t doing home visits. Going back now will give me the opportunity to perform this valuable nutrition evaluation for their clients. Grocery deliveries were also very limited in September, so I will also get the opportunity to assist drivers on home grocery and meal deliveries this time. Other plans are to visit patients while they are making their HIV/AIDS outpatient visits at Park West Clinic, helping AIRS clients with a grocery store tour, and hopefully, getting to work in the Moveable Feast community garden!