Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Life As A Dietetic Intern: My Bulletin Board!

I finally added my finishing touches to my bulletin board. The idea behind it was to eliminate the discrepancies between the MyPyramid icon and the new MyPlate icon as well as improve the use of MyPlate as a dietary tool.

I created an evaluation document that I will email to all faculty and staff to assess whether I reached my goals :D

Hope everyone is having a great week!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life As A Dietetic Intern: Community Nutrition Projects

Hey Everyone!

It’s been another busy week at the UK Extension Office! I’ve been working away on several nutrition educational tools and I’m coming up on my deadline for my Extension Office bulletin board titled, “MyPyramid To MyPlate: What Are The Differences?”. I plan to have this finished by the end of today and will take a picture of it to post by next week!! It has required a few weeks to wrap it up because I’ve been tackling several projects at once. I really love the versatility of the office and really enjoy the diversity between projects. My preceptor works on several community committees and is a part of creating nutrition programs for KY schools, so I’m in a position to intercept and work on some of her nutrition tools. I absolutely love having the freedom and creativity to use my knowledge from undergrad to create nutrition materials to large audiences that would otherwise not have access to such beneficial information.

Here’s a preview of one slide from my bulletin board:

I have also been able to work on a project where I’ve been creating a brochure and bulletin board slides for the elderly and those who are losing their eyesight, the illiterate, and Spanish speaking populations. The information that I’m covering is titled, “Poisonous Look-A-Likes”, which shines light on common consumer products that share similar packaging and labels (such as, candy nerds and mice pellets, regular gum and nicotine gum, Parmesan cheese and comet dish detergent, and many more). This has been a great project because there’s a wealth of products that can easily be mistaken for their poisonous look-a-like. Once created, my brochure and bulletin board slides will be passed out and used by the Extension Agents when they’re educating certain clientele all over the state of Kentucky.

Here’s a preview of my slides:

Aside from all of my mini-projects, I’ve been traveling the roads with my preceptor. This past week we spent a day in Hazard, KY doing a plate waste study (this was the second to last plate waste study of my preceptor’s research on the effectiveness of the LEAP Program) to evaluate the effectiveness of the LEAP Program (to see whether or not 1-3 graders consume more fruits and vegetables after receiving nutrition lessons). If you’re familiar with plate waste studies, this study design may be very similar or very different from your experiences. Instead of weighing the food and beverages after consumption, we set up cameras on tripods by the cash register in the cafeteria (to take the “before” pictures - that allows us to gauge if the children are choosing more fruits and veggies) and we setup more cameras on tripods near a table where the children would usually dispose of their plates (to take the “after” pictures - that allows us to gauge if the children actually consumed the fruits and veggies they put on their plate). These pictures will be compiled into data spreadsheets and analyzed before a report is created. It was a very interesting experience, especially since I was in charge of taking all of the before pictures along the buffet line. Many of the cafeteria workers automatically placed the entree items (meat, etc.) on each place and didn’t place fruits or veggies on a child’s plate, unless the child specifically asked for the item. The vegetables were on the buffet line (in front of the children) whereas the fruits were in a freezer cooler placed against a wall (behind the children and out of sight) - some of the children didn’t even notice the fruits and veggies. It would be an interesting study to see whether or not the marketing and placement of fruits and veggies, and suggestion to choose fruit from the cafeteria workers would impact consumption of these items. My guesses are that it definitely would. There’s clearly more that can be done to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children than we’re able to control/effect solely in nutrition education. This is why the Public Health professionals are so important to continue receiving grants to fund their programs as well as pushing the USDA to continue to make changes to the School Lunch Program. We will be returning to Perry County on the 13th and traveling to Laurel County on Tuesday to do another plate waste study.

I've been contemplating whether or not to apply to a PA (Physician Assistant) program. A PA provides a wealth of services that were traditionally performed by a Physician. PA's conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventative health care, assist in surgery, give medical orders and write prescriptions. Many MDs do not have the same training and nutrition background that RDs have, so a PA with an RD credential, in my mind, is a valuable member to the health care team. However, PAs are trained and licensed to work under the supervision of a Physician. Usually the Physician isn't required to be physically present, but everything the PA does must be signed off by the MD. Last week I met a PA that will be moving to Covington, KY to work at the Saint Elizabeth Regional Diabetes Center and he really stressed the difficulty that comes with finding a job as a PA because Nurse Practitioners (who usually have more schooling and do not require a MD supervisor) normally receive the jobs that PAs are qualified to perform. So, now I definitely have more to consider about that career option.