Student Blog

Hang In There!!

Hi everyone! I hope everything is going well. The semester is almost over, and Christmas will be here before we know it. So, hang in there!

I got the opportunity to go to FNCE this year, and I had a blast. The expo floor was full of samples and it was amazing. I went to a few sessions, and they were so interesting. One session I went to was the U.S. Army and the initiatives they are doing to improve the health of service members. Even if you are not interested in the military, the techniques they are doing are very applicable to the dietetics career. For instance, the presenters made the comment that one-fourth of the individuals in the military are discharged because they do not meet the weight requirements and cannot pass their physical fitness exam. Therefore, obesity is not just a national health issue, it is also a national security issue.

Another session I went to was to help students apply for a dietetic internship and how to make their application meet the standards for the internship programs. For those of you who were not able to attend this session or FNCE, some of the comments the presenters stood out to me and will help me when I start applying for internships in February. If you are still trying to figure out where to apply to, no worries, I took notes! First, you need to clarify our goals, specifically where do you see yourself in two years and five years. Then, determine which programs will help you get there based on the program’s emphasis. Think about where you want to live once you have become a RDN, and also think about the cost. You don’t want to get matched to a location that you can’t afford and then have to decline the internship position. Once you have found some places you want to apply to, look at their websites. If you still have questions that are not answered on the website, email the DI director, and be specific. Then, if you can, attend the program’s Open House. Once you have attended the Open House, don’t forget to send a thank you!

Another session was discussing Malnutrition in individuals with Eating Disorders. It was very interesting, and probably my favorite session of FNCE. A physician presented three different case studies and explained the interventions for the patients. A dietitian later discussed how to present information to patients who have eating disorders. For instance, instead of saying “calories”, say “energy”, or instead of saying “food” say “fuel”. We know we should do this, yes, but just having that conversation gave me confidence as I pursue to become a Registered Dietitian. It is also important to not stop the nutrition counseling too soon due to the risks of reinjury of the patient. When working with these patients, it is important to realize that they will be displaying stomach pains, and it will hurt. If we can explain to the patient that this is their body’s way of giving them a hug and saying “I love you”, then hopefully this will be received by the patient in a more positive way. The speaker also used a really neat analogy to use with patients. She took two sponges, one was extremely dry and wouldn’t absorb anything, and the other was a typical sponge. The typical sponge was able to absorb more water, and it weighed more but it doesn’t expand. This analogy can be used to help patients with eating disorders.

Our Northwest Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had their fall seminar this month too. There were eight presentations including the Infant Nutrition Lab at Washington Regional Hospital, GMO Labeling Laws, Alpha Gal Syndrome, Alternative Proteins, Advanced Diabetes, Using a Health Focused Approach in Nutrition Counseling, School Lunches can be Healthy and Delicious, and Perky Pantry. Many of the presentations were very interesting, and I learned so much.

If it sounds like this past month has been jam packed with nutrition it is because it has and I have enjoyed every bit of it. I am going to be honest though, I am ready for a break. Thanksgiving can’t come any faster, and I can’t wait to try out this new recipe my mom shared with me. Both her and my dad said it was very delicious, and I could say it is a healthier cake. It is a Pumpkin Praline Cake, so it has a lot of Vitamin A. Below is the recipe y’all! I hope you try it!

Posted by Alicia Landry at 8:45 AM