Hi everyone, my name is Brittany Wujek! I am a region 1 intern, currently completing my clinical rotation at St. Joseph’s hospital in Nashua, NH. Initially, the clinical setting was very intimidating. Prior to this rotation, I’ve had little hospital experience and COVID-19 only added to the anxiety. However, I learned quickly that I had a very supportive set of preceptors who made sure I felt comfortable and safe in this new clinical environment. Not only this, but my preceptors also made it an everyday priority to foster the growth of my clinical nutrition knowledge and skill set. Throughout this rotation, each day I have seen entirely different patients. One day could be a diabetes education, while another could be a malnutrition screen where I would perform a nutrition focused physical exam and, on another day, I could be calculating tube feed recommendations for a patient in the ICU. Since beginning this rotation back in September, I have left the hospital everyday having learned something new as well feeling more confident in myself as nutrition professional!
During my clinical rotation, I’ve had the opportunity to create two nutrition related bulletin boards. One (very appropriately) focusing on nutrition with COVID-19 and the other centered around cancer and nutrition which is planned to be placed in the cancer center at St. Joseph’s Hospital. While developing these boards, I investigated how COVID-19 as well as cancer affect a person’s nutritional status. I narrowed down the most important things a person could do for their health and nutrition and created an eye-catching display that would leave a lingering thought in the minds of passersby. Through creating these boards, I was able to research and dive into what specifically the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and A.S.P.E.N recommend for nutrition with COVID-19. Being that this virus is new and affecting millions of lives, as a nutrition professional, being able to practice with evidence-based data as well as provide that information to a very tense public (rightly-so) is crucial. Through researching COVID-19, I was granted a unique opportunity in offering nutrition-focused insight to a member of the nursing staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital. One of the nursing staff members was questioning whether a patient could be enterally fed in the prone position. Knowing a proned patient can be enterally fed, I initiated a discussion, explaining what the evidence by the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N) said as well as explained why continued nutrition support is important, especially in a critically ill patient with a COVID-19 infection. Even in that brief encounter, I was proud that I had the knowledge to advocate for the role of nutrition in patient care!