Whether educating the community, hospital staff, or patients, I’ve had many opportunities to share my knowledge. To the right is a picture of me selling diabetic sugar free apple pies at the hospital holiday pie sale. I was able to engage and educate both the community and hospital staff about the importance of sugar free alternatives.
During this rotation I realized I also love to educate patients and their families in making positive changes in their diets. When I first started conducting diet educations, I was very nervous about making mistakes. Through practice and encouragement from my preceptors, I’ve gained the confidence to successfully make a promising, healthy impact.
Here are some tips that I found helpful when educating patients during my clinical rotation:
1. Take your time. It is extremely important to interact with patients slowly and calmly. Assess the patient’s knowledge before diving in. Make sure to ask open-ended questions to get detailed responses. Most importantly, be sure to engage the patient in a collaborative conversation to assess understanding.
2. Set talking points. It’s helpful to make a short list of talking points before going into a patient’s room. This will help to ensure you cover all components of a therapeutic diet. Having these words written down can help you stay focused while educating.
3. Engage your audience. Engage the patient by tailoring your education to his or her food preferences. This helps to make your education more engaging, relevant, and specific to the patient. Try to mention the important foods to avoid while also including small alterations to things the patient likes.
4. Practice makes perfect. Lastly, remember nutrition education takes practice. Learn from your mistakes and ask questions throughout this process. I am proud to say I have learned a tremendous amount from my first day as an intern, and I am excited to become proficient in my future rotations!