Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nutrition Communications: Pyramid to Plate

After hearing my fellow interns speak highly of their rotation at The USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), I was excited for my turn. In the University of Maryland College Park Internship many of our rotations are referred to as acronyms (FSNE, IFIC, NAL, CNPP)  and sometimes its’ hard to keep them all straight.
Upon arrival to the USDA’s Alexandria, VA office I was assigned to work with the Nutrition Communications and Marketing Division. Within minutes of being there I was thrown into a team meeting to discuss social media strategy that included topics such as, next month’s Facebook editorial calendar, the newest MyPlate initiatives, and a new Pinterest Page. The CNPP staff sought and valued my opinion from the start and I knew I was in my element.
           The Nutrition Communications and Marketing Division at CNPP are extremely energetic and always striving for excellence. I was intrigued to learn that my preceptor, Jackie Haven, was hired to market the USDA’s first Food Pyramid and has been championing the campaign all the to The MyPlate today.

What started as a one-person team soon grew into a small independent agency tasked with transforming the science behind the dietary guidelines into consumer friendly messages.
            With the rise of social media 2.0 and the launch of the new MyPlate Facebook page it was an exciting time to be at CNPP.  Technology is changing so rapidly, impacting the way consumers learn and make decisions.  This means its critical time for the USDA to be key a player in the technology scene. I dove right into the social media projects during my time there and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be keeping an eye out for nutrition communication jobs as I embark on my career search! Thanks CNPP!

For a brief history of the USDA Food Guides check out this link from ChooseMyPlate.gov: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food groups/downloads/MyPlate/ABriefHistoryOfUSDAFoodGuides.pdf

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Experiences in Pediatrics

Today was my last day at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC, and what a fantastic experience! Throughout these past two weeks, I worked with four dietitians specializing in varying areas of pediatric nutrition. This week I rotated through the oncology/hematology and bone marrow transplant units. It was truly incredible to see physicians, surgeons, nurses, dietitians, pharmacy, speech pathologists, physical therapists, music therapists, art therapists, and others working together to provide the absolute best treatment for these patients. Rounds with the attending, fellow, residents, pharmacy, and nurses provided an incredible learning experience each morning. The best part of everyday, however, was seeing these patients and watching them progress towards health.

Last week at CNMC, I spent time on the cardiology floor and the cardiac intensive care unit. I was exposed to varying diseases and conditions specific to pediatric patients. Most of these patients had some form of congenital heart defect (CHD) which is a heart abnormality present at birth. These patients require special medical and nutritional care. Most of these patients have very elevated nutritional needs, and some receive oral, enteral, and parenteral nutrition simultaneously to meet their metabolic demands. During this week I chose a case study patient to assess, develop a plan of care, and follow-up with. I used this experience to research more about CHD and its impact on growth, development, and nutritional status in infants.

Because today was my last day, I presented my findings and case study to the other dietitians at CNMC. Overall, I learned so much more then I had anticipated. I found that I actually really enjoyed working with the pediatric population, and I am so grateful for this experience

Below are a few screen shots of my presentation.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Benefits of Being a Renal Dietitian

Last week, I finally confronted my biggest fear as a dietetic intern and completed my renal rotation at a dialysis center.  While at first anxious, due to my past history of squeamishness and brief lapses of consciousness at the sight of blood, I managed to complete the rotation without any problems.  To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed working with the folks on dialysis and could see myself becoming a renal dietitian at some point in the future.  Some of my favorite aspects of being a renal dietitian in an outpatient dialysis setting are listed below.    

11)      Developing a Rapport with Patients

a.       Since patients are usually at the dialysis center long-term and must be present 3 days a week, it is easy to develop a rapport with patients.  Through your role as the dietitian, you begin to familiarize yourself with each patient’s different lifestyle habits and diet preferences.  Knowing a patient’s preferences and dietary patterns makes it easier for you to tailor diet educations and recommendations to each individual patient. 

22)      The Opportunity to Observe the Impact of your Dietary Interventions and Educations
a.       With labs drawn constantly and consistently, you are able to track trends with your patients and monitor their compliance with the renal diet and certain medications.  

33)      Chance for General Health Promotion 

a.       Although, most of my time spent at the dialysis center focused on interpreting laboratory results and patient education, there was also a chance for some general health promotion through the lobby bulletin-board.  This allowed my partner and I to design a lay-out and materials for the month of May that focused on one specific component of the renal diet. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Look Into the Future

During our first week at Riderwood, we had the opportunity to experience a theme meal unfold and come to life.  Jennifer and Melissa decided to do a baseball theme, where their menu highlighted typical baseball stadium fare from around the country.  An example of menu items included soft pretzels, chili cheese dogs, sloppy joe’s and salmon sliders.  It was a great menu and the food was delicious. 

We were scheduled to help Jennifer and Melissa on Thursday and Friday in the kitchen, which was helpful for us as we began to think about our theme meal.  Below are a few things we’ll be keeping in mind as we plan our meal:

1.       Know your recipes inside and out!  It can be fun to choose recipes that are unique, but realized how important it is to thoroughly read the entire recipe.  Some parts may need to be made in advance and you may need to order special products, so it is good to be familiar with the items we choose to make.

2.       Stick to your production schedule.  If you make too many deviations from your schedule it can make you feel overwhelmed.  It is important to stick to your schedule to make sure you finish everything on time.

3.       Delegate delegate delegate.  Figure out what you can delegate to others that are available to help out.   This will help you complete multiple tasks at once and use all of your available resources.

4.       Have fun!  It was obvious that Jennifer and Melissa enjoyed interacting with the residents and chatting about baseball.  Choosing a theme that is interactive and relevant to the population can make for an enjoyable experience.

Overall, it was a really great learning experience for us.  We are looking forward to our theme meal on June 7th. 
Posted on behalf of Nikki Bolduc and Maria Winebrenner Tadic