Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter Bunny Says "Eat All Your Food Groups!" My Experience at the White House Easter Egg Roll 2016

On Monday, March 28th 2016, the First Family hosted the 138th annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn.  Thanks to the UMD internship and my preceptors at the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), I got to attend! That's right, I got to go to the White part of my Dietetic Internship!!  Let me tell you, it was as cool as it sounds.

I first arrived at the White House around 11 AM and was immediately escorted behind a gate to make way for...the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! I really did see him in person! He waved and smiled and I was headed off to the CNPP table.
Fountain on White House Lawn
So Close to the White House!

CNPP is a government agency that creates, updates, and oversees things such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate, SuperTracker, the Healthy Eating Index, and more.  It is an amazing opportunity to have a rotation at an agency that is so central and involved in nutrition policy in the United States, so getting to help at their table was an amazing experience.

The CNPP table was set up with three activities for children and their families in attendance: a food group "trivia wheel" a photo booth, and an activity where kids could build a healthy meal with food models.  I had a blast teaching kids about the food groups and the importance of physical activity and the kids absolutely loved spinning the trivia wheel. We gave out prizes to children such as temporary MyPlate tattoos, stickers, pencils, and posters.

Me having some Photo Booth Fun!
CNPP education materials table

The CNPP table was also equipped with all kinds of educational materials to give out to any parents and teachers who were interested.  We had some MyPlate readers for young children learning to read, parent and teacher curriculums, and materials on how to help your child eat healthfully.  It was a great platform to spread the word about MyPlate and all of the resources that go along with it.

USDA's Team Nutrition shared a table with us and passed out many educational materials as well.  They also brought their mascot, the Power Panther, which was a hit with children, and with me too! I got a picture with him after my time at the table was over and I also got to walk around freely to explore the Easter Egg Roll as long as I wanted.  I got to see live music performances, a few famous athletes, and a few actors too!

The Power Panther, the White House, and me!

UMD's Dietetic Internship has so many diverse opportunities and you never know what you will get to do.  I am very thankful to both the internship as well as those at CNPP who were able to bring me to the White House this year; it was surely an experience I will never forget!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Organize Me: Clinical Edition

My acute care clinical rotation flew by and although it was tough, I grew to love every single minute of it at the Baltimore VA Hospital. With my preceptors, and staff helping me whenever I needed pertinent information about a patient, I found myself appreciating them for every single thing they did. I created relationships there and this was essential for my success. Another thing that made me successful was my reference sheets. These became tools for me to make me more efficient at what I did.

When I was in clinical, my mind was going a mile a minute. Clinical is tough and it never slows down but I gave myself peace. This was done by making my own reference sheets for medications, supplements, formulas, PES phrasing, and more. These were essential for my success at clinical and I think it is useful to have on hand. As a current intern giving a future intern advice, try and prepare a quick reference sheet before you go to your clinical rotation. It shows initiative to your preceptors and can be your saving grace if you get in a tough spot.
Things to consider having on a reference sheet:
  • Common medications (brand name, generic name, use)
  • Common supplements: Nestle, Hormel, Abbott (kcal/pro)
  • Types of Insulin Chart
  • BMI chart
  • % Significant weight loss over time
  • Common PES statement 
  • Energy requirements (kcal/kg, Penn State, Mifflin St. Jeor, etc...)
  • Adjusted weight for amputation
  • Fluid adjustments for dialysis
You may receive a form with your hospital's assessment standards on it but it may not be organized in a useful way for you. I love making tables so this is the route I took when organizing my resources. As long as you reorganize it, make it colorful, and bold so that you use it effectively then you'll do great.  Not every technique you try will be effective the first time you use it. I made a list of over 100 common medications alphabetized before I went to my clinical rotation. Once in my rotation however I found that it was difficult to read and it took forever to find medications on it. After a few days of struggling with it, I went back and condensed it down by category of medications. This helped immensely. Your clinical rotation is a learning process, you learn what works and what doesn't. 

Another thing I made for myself was nutrition assessment sheet. It included everything I needed for a nutrition note at my hospital. I printed it out everyday and used this to organize the information I needed so I only had to look at this while I typed my notes. My notes were much more cohesive when I used my assessment sheets. You can create and adjust it for your clinical rotation and you may find yourself not needing as much information as you go through your rotation.

Things to consider having on a nutrition assessment sheet:
  • Name
  • Height/Weight
  • Room #
  • Labs
  • Meds
  • Diagnoses/Medical Hx: 
  • Skin
  • Intake from kitchen data or RN
  • Subjective Pt. Appetite/Intake
  • Nausea/Vomiting/Chewing/Swallowing/Diarrhea/Constipation
  • Energy requirements 
These are just suggestions of tools to make in order to have clinical success. Once I utilized these tools, my clinical rotation went much smoothly and I saw myself working more efficiently. I hope that this helps future interns because it helped me. Try new things and be a success. 

Cassie Burr
UMD Dietetic Intern 2015-2016
Twitter: @cassie_burr

Friday, March 18, 2016

Gruezi! Welcome to Switzerland!

Why Switzerland?
People often think of Swiss army knives, ski resorts, and watches when it comes Switzerland. Instead we decided to draw attention to Switzerland's diverse cuisine. Switzerland is a landlocked country in Europe surrounded by France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. Over the years, those four countries have all contributed to create a special Swiss cuisine.

We came upon Switzerland for its hearty meat dishes, Swiss cheese, pretzels, and of course fondue! All components of our menu were recognizable by the residents of Riderwood but at the same time unique to the Swiss culture. When it came to desserts, Elizabeth was the expert as she worked in a Swiss Bakery in high school. 

The menu included four main entrees, four sides, a soup, a bread, and dessert. Below you can see our full menu.

Two weeks leading up to our meal we started testing recipes. We tested the pretzel rolls, Linzer cookies, and chocolate fondue. Testing the recipes beforehand allowed us to get the perfected product we wanted and made us more comfortable working in the kitchen. With all the Linzer cookies we baked during our testing, we used them to help market our meal by passing them out to residents outside of Windsor along with a reminder handout to attend our lunch. 

The week leading up the our meal we hung up posters throughout the different buildings of RIderwood and posted a menu in front of the restaurants. During dinner services we rotated through the different restaurants conducting table touches informing the residents of our meal. On the tables of Windsor restaurant we put out table tents. The front side of the table tent highlighted a city of Switzerland and the backside provided the when, where, and what about our meal. The rest of the week was spent in the kitchen prepping food. By Thursday we were in good shape and spent our last few hours (late) Thursday night decorating the dining room.

The day had come! 
The morning of I could say we were more excited than nervous but there was still a lot of work that needed to be done. The Windsor kitchen staff was extremely helpful and we truly could not have pulled it off without them. They took on our meal as one of their own and were more than willing to help any way they could.

As residents started arriving, we made ourselves available to greet our guests and thank them for coming. The servers took over from there allowing us to make rounds at the tables thanking them again, asking for any feedback, and reminding them to fill out our surveys.

The feedback we received from the residents after our theme meal was so rewarding and validated all our hard work for the past five weeks. However, we could not have done it without the help of both the management and kitchen teams from the Windsor. We’d like to thank everyone involved in making our theme meal a success!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Class Day in Annapolis: being a nutrition advocate

On March 2nd, 2016, UMD interns got the wonderful opportunity to spend the day in Annapolis. I’ve recently learned about the importance of becoming an advocate in the field of Dietetics.  I was never big on public policy until I attended Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’(MAND) legislation day earlier in February, where I got the opportunity speak to delegates with interns from other dietetic internships and registered dietitians about our stance on nutrition related bills. Prior to meeting with delegates, guest speakers provided us with great advice on how to speak with our legislators. This made me confident, and ready to voice my opinion-- all in the name of nutrition!

This class day started with a history lesson and a tour in the historic rooms and chambers of Maryland State House! Next, we observed the Senate in session and the House of Delegates. As an intern class, we were announced in one of the sessions (we felt so special!). Then, we briefly met with Jim Brochin, who is the State Senator for Maryland’s 42nd Legislative District, Baltimore County. Although he was very busy that day, he still made an effort to meet with us, and shared with us his story of why he decided to run. Speaking to him made us realize how much he cares for Maryland and its citizens. 

Attending this class day in Annapolis refreshed my memory about the different roles that Maryland's Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches play in enacting laws and enforcing them, as well as how a bill becomes a law. Being a nutrition advocate isn't so bad after all. When speaking to delegates, you have to know your stuff! The more you know what you are talking about, the less nervous you will feel. I look forward to becoming more involved in future legislation days, where my voice can make a difference! 

UMD, College Park dietetic interns and program director meet with Senator Brochin

The Agenda 

8:30 a.m. Meet- Joint Hearing Room, First Floor, Department of Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland

View Maryland General Assembly Video “The Legislative Process” 

9:00 a.m. Escort through the Tunnel to the Maryland State House
Tour Historic Rooms and Chambers of Maryland State House

10:00 a.m.  Escort to Reserved Seats in the Senate Gallery, Second Floor, State House

10:30 a.m. View Legislative Session from House of Delegates Gallery

11:00 a.m. Program Concludes in 221 James Senate Office Building

Meet with Senator Jim Brochin