Hello everyone! I’m Laura Banderas-Avalos, current Sodexo dietetic intern from Southern California region 12. I am about to start my intermediate clinical rotation but must say that food service management and patient services have been my favorite rotations so far. Talking to people about nutrition and giving them simple tips and ideas on how to implement small changes that lead to better health makes my heart smile.
During my food service management rotation, I did a retail marketing and wellness project centered around Stroke Awareness Day and the “Wonders of Herbs.” The whole premise was lowering your risk for stroke by lowering your blood pressure and stress, two of the leading triggers of stroke. So how did herbs come into play? Well, reducing sodium can reduce blood pressure, and herbs add flavor to foods without the added salt! Not only that, but picking up a new hobby such as gardening (and growing your herbs) can reduce stress— another risk factor in strokes. So not only did my retail marketing and wellness project include a sample of a delicious salad packed with herbs, but I also gave out herb seeds and starter pods to all in attendance and raffled off a 14-herb starter kit as well!
It was great to meet staff from other departments; many of them asked if I would be hosting other similar events on a weekly or monthly basis. Some got inspired to put on similar wellness events for their patients.
During my Patient Services rotation, I was asked to help with a hospital-wide World Diabetes event, during which over 200 people were expected to attend. Collaborating with other RDNs was such a great experience, and the feedback we received was phenomenal. Staff and patients in attendance loved our Pumpkin Spiced Overnight Oats samples and appreciated the free pumpkin spice and recipe that would allow them to make their own at home. We had so many patients asking questions about portion sizes and how the My Plate method could help them improve their nutrition. People enjoyed visiting our table, and I had such an amazing time being part of such an important event.
These past three months of my internship have given me such an insight into what my future holds. The thought and preparation that goes into planning and executing wellness events can be a lot of work, but being able to use my creativity and event planning skills has been such a wonderful experience. As I move along into my clinical rotations, I am enjoying the interactions I have with patients and the critical thinking that is required when diagnosing their nutritional needs. While starting a new rotation can be a little scary, even nerve-racking, it's becoming easier. With each new rotation comes new challenges and new experiences that continue to increase my confidence and reassure me that I am exactly where I am meant to be.