For my summer field experience, I was lucky enough to work with dietitians at Lehigh Valley Health Network in the Allentown, PA area. Through a family friend, I was able to get contact information for the Clinical Nutrition Director. I reached out to my contact, explained my interest in the network and the requirements I needed to complete throughout the summer, and she reviewed my materials and later accepted my request. The format of my field experience was similar to a dietetic internship, in the sense that I had full-time mini clinical “rotations” that changed almost weekly. I worked with many dietitians (many of which were from Penn State!) that were experts in their respective nutrition-related fields. Some of the areas I worked in include neuroscience, burns, pediatrics, oncology, neonatal intensive care, general GI disorders, GI surgery, pregnancy, weight management, bariatrics, cardiology, and more. I became responsible for performing mock patient assessments, mock parenteral nutrition orders, calorie counts, growth charts, assisting with nutrition screening, and more. I also created educational materials for many of the dietitians for eventual distribution to their patients. My favorite part of this experience was applying my background knowledge of nutrition to real-life patients with a range of mild to serious disease states. I would highly recommend this incredible field experience for anyone who wishes to gain a strong clinical background in an environment that challenges you every day. Now that I have had such immense exposure to so many different patient populations, I feel much more confident in my ability to successfully complete a dietetic internship, specifically with a strong clinical emphasis, than before. If you’d like any more information about my field experience in particular, I’d be happy to answer your questions at any time!
Margaret DeFranco, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pennsylvania State University – Class of 2015
Nutritional Sciences – Dietetics Option
Student Nutrition Association – Info Tech Chair