The past two months I have been rotating between three different rotations. Although these rotations were different in many ways they had one thing in common; a diverse population in need for nutrition care.
During my pediatric rotation at Children’s National Medical Center, I worked in outpatient clinics counseling diabetic and obese children. While counseling young patients and their families I learned about the specific food preferences of Hispanic and African American culture, such as enjoying a simple, fat free dessert of mango coated in lemon juice. Their unique preferences taught me the importance of tailoring specific nutrition messages.
After the two week rotation at Children’s’ National Medical Center, I started my long term care rotation at Charlestown Retirement Community run by Erickson Living Communities. It was ironic to me that exactly a week prior I was advising children to replace their fruit drinks with water, while at Charlestown I assisted residents in determining any type of hydration. From working with obese children and counseling them to lose weight, I was advising the older residents to eat frequent meals to prevent weight loss.
I then transitioned to a Davita Dialysis clinic where I again was met with a population with unique nutrition needs. From liberating diets and encouraging fluid intake at Charlestown, I was counseling dialysis patient to limit their fluid intake. Most of my time was spent counseling patients about how to limit their potassium, sodium, and phosphorus intake.
Throughout the three different rotations in four weeks, the challenge of working with a diverse population taught me so much. I learned the nutrition needs, food preferences and cultural values and beliefs of patients in different age and ethnic groups. Moreover, I was able to practice how to tailor my nutrition messages to different audiences which has helped me become a more culturally competent future dietitian.