This summer I had two great nutrition related field experiences that allowed me to implement skills I learned in class into a “real-life” setting. I spent 150 hours at DaVita Dialysis Center in Thorndale, PA working with the Registered Dietitian. Prior to this experience I did not know much about renal nutrition and how renal patients require a diet that is very different than most people and have to keep an eye on nutrients and lab values that most people don’t have to think about. Some of the highlights of my tasks included, making rounds with the RD and physician to discuss monthly lab results with each patient, counseling several patients on how to improve their lab values by providing him/her with nutrition education information, and assisting with two lobby days. Lobby days were when we had a table in the waiting room with nutrition handouts, renal friendly food, and an activity that related to being on dialysis. I never would have thought that I could be an RD at a dialysis center, but it was a vital position at this facility.
My other 150 hours were spent at Hickory House Nursing Home in Honey Brook, PA. I worked with the Registered Dietitian and learned that there is a lot involved when it comes to being an RD at a long-term care facility. She was the only one in the facility and was in charge of what occurred in the kitchen as well as the clinical aspect of monitoring the residents’ nutrition. Twice a week I attended Resident at Risk meetings where we discussed each patient in the building that had a wound, feeding tube, significant weight loss, chewing/swallowing problem, or some other issue that put him/her at nutritional risk. I received a lot of practice completing nutrition assessments and calculating tube feeding calculations. I was also able to observe other positions such as going on rounds with the wound care nurse and the speech therapist. I never knew how much nutrition played a very important role in both of these fields. I assisted the speech therapist with a project for the residents with a chewing/swallowing problem and helped the activities department run a healthy smoothie day for the residents after their exercise class. This experience was mostly clinical but I worked at this facility as a dietary aide as well and gained food service experience through that.
It took awhile to find these two places, but they were both definitely worth the wait because I had two memorable experiences where I learned more than I ever thought I could and had the opportunity to work with a lot of great people. I recommend both of these experiences to anybody interested in seeing the same patients on a regular basis and getting to see their dietary improvements.
By: Chelsea Reynolds
The Department of Nutritional Sciences is hosting an Open House for Parents and Families Weekend on Saturday, Oct 11, 2:30 to 4 PM in the lobby of Chandlee Lab. We invite families, undergraduates, and faculty to join a tour of the facility, view research posters and a display of the Advanced Field Experiences of our current seniors.
Tours will be given at 2:30 and 3:30 PM starting in the lobby. Two nutrition graduate students and one undergrad will give tours of the research labs upstairs and tell us about the research activities currently happening there. Many of our students participate in faculty directed research on campus.
The lobby display will describe the 2014 summer field experiences of our seniors for their NUTR 495 class. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates to get ideas about the variety of practical experience they could look for prior to graduation.
All are welcome to view the displays, chat with seniors, and attend a tour. See you there!
The Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Association is currently accepting nominations for the John E Smith Outstanding Senior award. This award is given yearly to a graduating senior (Fall 2014-Summer 2015) in recognition of their demonstrated exemplary leadership in the College of Health and Human Development and/or University and exemplary service to the community.
Students must have completed at least 90 credits including the course, Nutrition 445, and plan to graduate in December, May or August.
Students (undergraduate or graduates in Nutrition), faculty, staff, and alumni may make nominations. Students may also nominate themselves.
The award is typically presented at the spring NDAS brunch. Application material and additional details can be accessed at the NDAS web site.
Complete nomination packets should be sent to Julie Brenneman, and must be received in the Nutritional Sciences office by October 31, 2014.
This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to complete two field experiences in Hershey, Pennsylvania. One experience was at Hershey Medical Center, working closely with three of their clinical Registered Dietitians, and the other was at The Farmers Market in Hershey, working with the market itself and their community outreach programs. I was able to find the opportunity at Hershey Medical Center through Dr. Coleman-Kelly after an announcement she made at the dietetics option information session. After being presented with this opportunity but only being guaranteed 200 hours, I found the farmers market opportunity through my alumni mentor, and the market was able to provide me with the additional 100 hours I needed.
These experiences were equally incredible and I am so blessed to have had them. Through my clinical experience, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and learned so much more than I had originally thought possible. I followed up with patients for 7-day nutrition rescreens under many different services of the hospital, updated educational handouts given to patients, and attended meetings and presentations with the RDs. Through the farmers market, I updated their current social media, created and continually updated an Instagram account for the market, created health and nutrition educational handouts in both English and Spanish for workers and jockeys at the Penn National Race Track, and worked at the market itself, along with many other little things throughout my experience. Despite initially stressing out about finding a field experience, worrying about the complications of completing two experiences as opposed to one, and being concerned about not making any money, I had a fantastic summer. I met many amazing people and learned much more about what I want to do with my nutrition degree. I didn’t want to leave Hershey when the time came, but I am excited to use what I learned during my field experience in my future classes and professional career.
If you are a sophomore, you should consider attending “Sophomore Success”, a program hosted by Career Services, on Wednesday, October 8th. This program is for sophomores and will provide information on the following topics:
Finding Your Career Path, Learning How to Gain Experience, and Getting Help Selecting Your Major.
Sophomore year is a great time to start thinking about these topics, your goals within your major, and building your resume by obtaining valuable experience.
Click here to view the flyer for this program. Times and location are included.
The leaves are turning, classes are in full swing and fall is truly here; but should you be thinking about spring? Juniors are currently scheduling for spring semester and Sophomores and Freshmen will be right behind them. If you aren’t sure exactly when you schedule classes for spring semester, you can find your date in a couple places: Your Degree Audit and a new app on elion, Registration Calendar. Check either to find your schedule date. Although we have many resources available on line to help you plan your schedule, it is always a good idea to visit your adviser. Electives, supporting courses, general education and prerequisites can be tricky. Call the Nutritional Sciences office (814 863-0806) at least two weeks before your scheduled registration date to make an appointment with Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Eissenstat. The Nutrition Office is open from 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. You can also stop in to the office at 110 Chandlee lab. When you call or visit , have your student ID number and calendar available so you can select a convenient appointment time. You can contact the other advisers by phone or email. Their contact information can be found on page two of the blog. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather, but plan now for spring. Some classes fill quickly and you don’t want to miss out.