When I first arrive to work, I begin screening patients according to my facility’s guidelines. Once I have gathered all the patients I need to see for the day, I begin researching each of them. I look up their principal hospital problem, past medical history, social history, recent or upcoming procedures, diet/supplement orders, medication list, lab/procedure results, skin issues, GI issues, and weight history. Once I have all the diagnostic information, I begin reviewing other providers’ notes on each patient. This gives me more insight into the patient’s history, their current prognosis, and any plans for discharge.
After I have gathered all the pertinent information, it is time to go see my patients. I conduct a short interview with my patients to get information about how they are currently doing and if there are any nutritional needs that I can help them with. If I am seeing a patient for a malnutrition consult, then I will do a nutrition focused physical exam (NFPE). The NFPEs are my favorite because I get to touch the patients, and it helps me gain another level of understanding about their nutritional needs.
When I have finished charting all of my patients, it is time to go home for the day!
I enjoy each day of clinicals more than any other rotation thus far. I love the hospital setting and the exposure I am getting to medicine. Currently, I am in my second week of advanced clinicals. Today, I had my first TPN patient. Every day, I learn something new about nutrition and medicine. My concentration is Critical Care/MNT, and I cannot wait to delve deeper into nutrition therapy in critical care. I hope this post gave you a better understanding about what dietitians do in the hospital!