NUTR 495 Advanced Field Experience: Margaret DeFranco posts about her experience at Lehigh Valley Health Network

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,
The Pennsylvania State University – Class of 2015
Nutritional Sciences – Dietetics Option
Student Nutrition Association – Info Tech Chair


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