Hello everyone! My name is Theresa, and I am a dietetic intern from region 5 (Baltimore, MD). Since the beginning of my internship, I have met so many inspiring dietitians and took part in so many unique experiences. Such experiences include my leadership concentration in eating disorders. Sodexo provided me the opportunity to experience nutrition and dietetics in a setting where I was not too familiar, but allowed me to work outside my comfort zone in an experience I really enjoyed. I had always enjoyed learning about psychology, and I thought it was fascinating combining both psychology with medical nutrition therapy. By collaborating with dietitians, therapists, and psychiatrists in a psychiatric and eating disorder hospital, I learned the importance of quality nutrition on brain health. I pushed myself to counsel those battling disorders revolved around nutrition and strived to create a healthier food environment. Some projects I completed at the hospital included various pop-up nutrition tables, in which I developed handouts with paired recipes aimed at communicating fresh nutrition-inspired meals. These recipes not only enhanced awareness for nutritional benefits, but also introduced a variety of cooking techniques for the items. Another activity I took part in included “therapeutic lunches,” in which staff and patients sat down to have an enjoyable lunch together. In the psychiatric hospital, I was able to develop a multitude of education materials such as bulletin boards, handouts, recipes, and lesson plans. I also conducted a few presentations myself, allowing me to strengthen my confidence in the field. An area I really enjoyed was counseling patients and assessing vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I learned a lot through both conversations with my patients and assessing nutrition laboratory values. I now hope to continue learning about the impact nutrients play on one’s mental health.
Another rotation I enjoyed during my internship included my time in the ICU. Here, I worked daily with the clinical team to assess medical nutrition needs for my patients. I strengthened my communication skills by working as a team player to address patient needs. I applied my knowledge in nutrition towards difficult cases and communicated to the team my thoughts. I attended daily rounds where we discussed important updates in the hospital. This rotation also emphasized the importance of speaking up and communicating ideas. I always enjoyed math courses in school, so this rotation allowed me to use these skills by completing PPN and TPN formulas. The ICU provided me with an abundance of new nutrition terms and experiences. I loved the intensity in the ICU and the complexity of their patients. Without this rotation, I would not have seen myself enjoying the ICU and I am grateful for this experience.