Friday, October 14, 2011

What it’s like to work at a small community hospital

First, thanks for the birthday wishes Smile I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since my 21st birthday. How depressing LOL. Though I may be getting older, there is an upside: The other day someone asked me if I was in high school. Haha still young lookin’ I guess!

So right now my rotation is in a small community hospital (I’ve only got a week left there).  They only have one dietitian for the whole place and she does both the clinical side as well as managing the food service. Lots of responsibilities and no time to do them is what I’ve discovered with her job.  Typically they only have an average of 8 in-patients on the Med/Surg floor but there is plenty of other components to the hospital. They do a lot of outpatient services where people are in and out of the hospital in the same day so that keeps the in-patient population low.

I’m enjoying the small town atmosphere, probably because it reminds me of home (even though this hospital is smaller than the one I was born in! Well I’m pretty sure there is no maternity floor at this hospital LOL). I’ve gotten to assess several patients on my own by now.  Basically before I even go in their room I get background information from their chart: height, weight, diagnosis, current diet order, past medical history, tobacco/alcohol/drug use, medications, labs, etc…..anything else that’s important.  Then when I go in to talk to the patient I find out their usual weight, any recent weight changes, how’s their appetite, how much of their trays have they eaten since being admitted, n/v/d/c (that means nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation. yeah I have to be a little personal with them), any chewing or swallowing problems, food allergies/intolerances, and diet history.  After all that I can write up my own assessment in their chart and determine their Calorie, protein, and fluid needs as well as determine if they are on the proper diet order.  Like today I had to switch someone from a regular diet to a cardiac diet because they had a history of hypertension.  I also have to see if the patients need a nutritional supplement if they aren’t eating well or have a poor appetite – proper nutrition is important for healing!  That’s the basics of my assessments at least. It is a little more complicated but you get the picture.

Today I was also lucky enough to do my first outpatient nutrition counseling.  The outpatient counseling is much different because the people come in either because they want to or their doctor referred them in and you spend an hour going in depth into counseling them on whatever they are there for.  Last week I observed one person that came in because their doctor wanted them to learn about a heart healthy diet but they were also interested in losing weight.  Another person I saw came in because of bulimia, among other health conditions.  The person I got to work with today was a diabetic so I talked to them about carb counting, blood sugar goals, symptoms of hypo- and hyperglycemia, and laid out a meal plan with them determining how many carb servings they should aim for at each meal in order to be consistent throughout the day.  It went really well and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

I’m excited for next week because I’ll be spending a morning at their wellness center and I’m also making a presentation for a diabetes support group. Loving life right now!

And just so I can include a picture with this post (I’ve been really bad about taking pictures lately), I’ll show you the awesome dinner I had the other night.



I got this stuffed sandwich from an client of the MSU Product Center. Lauren runs Ope’s where she makes organic vegan stuffed sandwiches and veggie burgers as well as cookies! The cookies are totally awesome and I wish I had more! She was so kind to give me samples of two sandwiches (pizza and veggie) and 3 cookies (chocolate chip, cranberry chip, and oatmeal raisin). This was my last of it all and now I’m sad LOL. She sells her products mainly around Michigan to hospitals and some schools.  Basically you wouldn’t be able to get them but you CAN get the cookies! They just started selling them online so you can order them through I highly recommend them Open-mouthed smile.

1 comment:

  1. I used to get Opes cookies ALL the time when I wad on a rotation at spectrum. They are so good!