How time flies! I’m halfway through my internship. Behind me are months of writing blogs, tweets, articles, and Facebook posts. I’ve created flyers, posters, and table tents to spread the word. With children, I’ve spoken, sang, and danced the merits of nutrition. I’ve lead multi-week adult nutrition classes and loved every minute of every class.
I’m currently in my first clinical rotation. After the first two days of seeing patients my head was filled with all sorts of EHR screens, navigation, and procedures, as well as various types of patient information that needed to be located, documented, and considered. I was under the wing of a great RD role model, Elyse.
Elyse and I were gowning up to enter a patient’s room when she casually asked if I was ready to talk to a patient. I knew it was coming, after all it is a component of clinical nutrition. At the same time it was the last thing on my mind, which is why I was caught off guard. Rarely is a first opportunity ideal, you just go for it. Without hesitation (okay, maybe slight hesitation), my first Coumadin consult was quickly behind me.
I’m impressed at the events that transpired between Elyse’s “want to take this one?” and my “sure”: flashbacks of being at my husband’s bedside at Cleveland Clinic, flashbacks of my own local hospital stay following an accident, and the excitement (as both patient and spouse) of seeing the discharge nurse walk into the room.
It wasn’t for memories sake that I was thumbing through my past. What I wanted to gain - in a matter of 1 second - was perspective. When I was the bedside spouse, when I was the patient, when all I wanted was to see was the discharge nurse… what could a RD have said to me to get my attention? Because it was those qualities that I wanted to have right then, right there.
I knew my delivery wouldn’t be perfect; through continued opportunities, I would improve my delivery. I wanted to make a connection. Goal achieved.
What I learned is that it all comes back to the same thing: no matter the setting, we rely on our personality to engage, and our skills to translate the science of nutrition into meaningful messages. The audience and setting will change constantly, as each is unique.
I had all the skills I needed when I walked into that hospital room: sincerity, confidence, and the ability to meet the patient at her level of understanding. With practice, my presentations have become more fluid. Practice, practice, practice.