Two weeks ago the University of Maryland dietetic interns had an opportunity to attend a joint class day hosted by Children’s National Medical Center. The class day consists of a series of lectures covering topics on providing medical nutrition therapy for the pediatric population. The lectures included information on: Infant Formula, Enteral Nutrition, Parental Nutrition, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Short Bowel Syndrome, Neonatal Nutrition, Oncology, Cystic Fibrosis, Allergies, Metabolics and Genetics. It was a lot of new information that I have never learned about during my undergrad. After completing my two clinical rotations, my partner and I were the first set of interns to start our rotation at the Children’s National Medical Center this year. We each chose two different areas that we would like to focus on and I chose Gastroenterology and Cardiology.
One thing that I learned this past week in my GI rotation was that providing medical nutrition therapy for the pediatric population is completely different from the older population.
Here are some issues to consider when working with the pediatric population:
- Is the patient able to provide a complete diet history? Are there parents present at the time of the interview?
- What special psychosocial considerations need to be considered when dealing with an adolescent population.
- Are the parents mixing formulas correctly or following the recipe provided?
- What issues need to be considered when discharging a child on a new tube feeding or TPN?
- Who is the caregiver and is that person aware of any special diet instructions?
- Does the patient’s medical diagnosis increase calorie or protein needs?
- Do you have the skills to complete growth charts to track the growth of infants, children and adolescents.
It was a great experience being able to work with the GI team and learn how to provide medical nutrition therapy for a pediatric population. I am definitely looking forward to my next peds rotation in cardiology!