WOW! Hard to believe I never have to sit in a classroom again. After getting my BS in Nutrition & Fitness and Nutrition & Foods last fall I just completed my MS in Dietetics and soon to be a RDN after my board exam! It has been a long (but also fast) 6 years and now more adventures await for me.
As I close one chapter but begin writing a new one I wanted to reflect on the past few years and since I have been away from the blog for a bit I figured I’d write about it!
So here are a few of my thoughts over the last 6 years…..
Be open minded.
Never did I think when I started my coordinated program that I would have accepted an inpatient job at a hospital but here I am about to start my job in Oncology. Funny how things work. I applied to the program wanting to go into sports but little did I know my mind would be opened to so many other opportunities in Dietetics. My program was coordinated therefore I had all my internships and supervised practice experiences set up for me during the program therefore I got exposure to SO MANY different areas of Dietetics. A few of the experience I got during my program included:
- Clinical Rotations in 2 different ICU’s and Children’s Mercy
- Foodservice Rotations
- HyVee Rotation
- Counseling and presentations at WIC
- Outpatient rotations at Metabolic Genetics, General outpatient, Oncology, Pediatric Weight Management and Family Impact Center.
- Food demos at the Food Pantry and Farmer’s Market
- Presentations with Summer Food Feeding Program
- Tours at a local dairy farm
- Media day training with Missouri Beef Council
- Grocery store tour
- Numerous presentations throughout the community for kids, adults and groups with a disease state
- Attending the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE)
- Creating a business plan for our Culinary Center on campus
- Participating in simulations
You can see that the world of dietetics is VERY diverse! While I still enjoy seeing the connection between nutrition and athletic performance my heart has grown to love the critical care side of Dietetics. Although I went the more traditional route with my first job, math and science have always been a strong suit of mine therefore I believe I have found a place where my knowledge can best be used. I love caring for patients with complicated cases because it challenges me and keeps me on my toes to always keep learning. While one day I would love to be part time clinical and having the rest of my time to partner with organizations in the community or have a side job, of say maybe cookie decorating, I am blessed and excited for my first job out of school!
Many people still practice from weight exclusive viewpoint .
Even though Health At Every Size (HAES) is becoming more popular many providers still practice with the number on the scale at the forefront. Research shows that weight is not the sole indicator of someone’s health and health can be (and should be) measured in many different ways! Weight ≠ Health. In fact, the BMI category with the highest mortality risk is “underweight” where as the lowest mortality risk is those who are “overweight.”
Sometimes we have to ask the tough questions. What is the motive behind putting so much emphasis on a single number? Often times when someone is striving to loose weight it comes from wanting to fill a void from somewhere else. This graphic from a fellow RD2Be describes it perfectly!
Another instagram post I stumbled upon this past week….
Research shows that weight loss is not sustainable for the long term and that behavior changes are more likely to improve someone’s overall health than striving for weight loss. While some dietitians do work in weight loss that is just VERY SMALL percentage of what we can do. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t hand out meal plans for weight loss like it’s candy 🙂
I love this quote that former UCLA head gymnastic coach shared at the CPSDA conference recently: ” When someone asks you what you do, you don’t teach nutrition. You’re developing champions. They are more than how they look, they are more than how much muscle they have. They are a whole human being and how they fuel themselves on the inside is more important than how they look on the outside.”
As a future RDN, I want to empower my clients/patients to view health as a bigger picture, see how great they are on both the inside and outside and establish healthy habits that become life long habits.
It’s okay to not know everything.
I am very much a perfectionist and achiever therefore I often times have to remind myself of this. While my degree took 6 years to complete I have just scratched the surface of knowledge I could obtain! There is so so much to know when working in the healthcare field that it is okay to not know everything, especially for being an entry level RD. But I also see this as challenge to always keep up with the latest research and obtain specialty credentials. One aspect of working in a hospital is the multidisciplinary approach between providers. You have the chance to work with others to bounce ideas off of but also learn from each other. An aspect that you may not see as much if you had your own business or worked within a small organization but that is when networking with others comes in handy 🙂
You don’t know what you don’t know.
One of my professors famous quotes and it could not be more true. Reflecting back on the last 6 years it is crazy to think about how much I have grown and learned. I had so many “ah-ha” moments throughout my program and had my eyes opened to opportunities I didn’t even know existed in my profession which makes me all the more excited to see where my career takes me.
Take advantage of rotations and internships.
This is so important because you never know how those relationships or impressions you made could play into your future. I was often reminded by my professors that each day at my internship was like a job interview. I can attest to this personally as I was hired on at a facility where I have been a Diet Tech for almost 2 years and where I had a 6 week rotation at. Showing the facility that you can work within their team and organization during your rotation speaks volumes of you as a future RDN and can help your future job search! I was blessed to have only applied for one job (not something I would recommend for everyone but it worked out for me!) and truly believe that had I not asked to help with staff relief when our staff was down 3 RD’s, showed my co-workers my work ethic and my interest to keep learning I may have had a different outcome with my job search.
If I had to take away one overarching reflection from my last 6 years it would be to always be open to new opportunities and learning because you never know where life may take you!