Monday, April 14, 2014

Mental Stamina Required!

I didn’t have any experience in outpatient care before my internship began.
I hadn’t “been there.”
I hadn’t “done that.”

You might already know where this is heading... (that’s right) I recently spent a very educational week in outpatient care, as part of my rotation at Children’s National Medical Center. A week in outpatient pediatric obesity piggybacked a week of inpatient pediatric GI care.

During my week of inpatient care, I became well aware that MNT for infants and adolescents is nothing like MNT for adults. Also, parents, as part of the whole picture, mandate a different approach to patient care. Lastly, being the mother of 2 preteens added a unique level of sympathy and empathy to my reflection. 

Given what I learned during my first week, I felt prepared for outpatient pediatrics. I was  confident with my general nutrition and weight loss knowledge, yet I looked forward to tying it all together while improving my interview and counseling skills. I’ve become keenly aware of the mental stamina required in clinical nutrition; the outpatient setting added a couple twists.

Each appointment must be greeted with a fresh, sincere “Hello”; that’s a simple, basic, human courtesy and it’s what we do, as professionals. Most often we met with a parent/child pair. Sometimes both parents were present. Sometimes all the siblings were present. Regardless, for this intern, a sincere fresh “Hello” became an opportunity in the making after meeting with the first 3 or 4 parent/child pairs of the day. Throw into the mix a few hunger pangs and the opportunity for growth became exponential! Don’t get me wrong, I mastered the skill; but the first time this happened was eye opening. Talk about putting it all aside and giving more than you’ve got. That nails it on the head!

And, no matter what’s going on in the room, we have to stay on track and maintain a consistent train of thought. I was an observer when I first experienced the need for this skill, and for that I’m so grateful! I can’t highlight a particular experience because each was so unique; however, can I say with certainty my RD was absolutely amazing! I don’t know if I was outstanding when my opportunity to shine was presented, but, I know I was successful!

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