I spent my weekend catching up on work (and maybe a few tv shows…) in beautiful Morro Bay! It’s the middle of December and I have the AC in my car cranked up still. Being from the SF Bay Area, I’m really missing the chill, though!
Food Service Management update: So what have I been up to during my FSM rotation? I’ve definitely been busier than I’ve ever been at any other rotation, but that’s the beauty of a longer rotation: you’re able to get really involved in a project and see it all the way through.
My big project involves the upstairs supply rooms, their impact on food costs, and how to keep that cost under control. Additionally, I’ve been helping out wiht updating menus, creating vegetarian and vegan patient menus (right up my alley!), planning holiday meals, working with the diet aides, working on production sheets, and updating recipes!
I’ve also, as part of the supply room project and to fulfill the management competency, been involved in creating a little training binder which I’m super excited about!
That’s all I’m going to say for now ;)
Hope you’re all doing well,
Cultural competency has recently become a hot topic among the dietetics community. It was really emphasized during my senior year and I recently have gained a new appreciation for the push to educate dietetic [and all] professionals on cultures that surround us.
Cultural competency is defined as “recognizing and forming one’s atti- tudes, beliefs, skills, values, and levels of awareness to provide culturally appropriate, respectful, and relevant care and education. Such models emphasize the ability of health care professionals to ask questions, listen carefully, speak simply and respectfully, and involve clients in their own treatment plans” (see here)
I’ve said it before: I’ve been spoiled growing up in the Bay Area. Growing up, I was surrounded by people from every walk of life, a multitude of different countries, speaking so many different languages- I feel like I took it for granted. I couldn’t walk into Costco without hearing that beautiful cacophony of an array of languages mingling amongst each other.
The importance of being culturally sensitive lies in the details, in the way we phrase things when speaking with people who have different backgrounds, in our tone, in how we perceive each other’s actions in conversation. It’s so important to be aware of ourselves to optimize our professional communication! I’ve learned, thankfully not through firsthand experience, that cultural illiteracy can have very negative consequences, from decreasing one’s credibility to losing clients.
So, how do we become culturally competent? I’ve been mulling over this one all week long. Do we take a class? Do we attend a lecture during the conventions held by the AND or our state dietetic association? Do we research different cultures on our own time? Do we read articles? I feel that this is a very complex topic and one where classes, seminars, research are only the beginning. I personally feel that cultural competence comes from practice and experience. Which is another turn in he story since everyone is surrounded by different experiences and opportunities!
The number one thing I sincerely feel we can do to be culturally competent professionals and individuals is to be self aware. Self awareness in the field of psychology is one powerful thing that can really help people take control of their actions. When I’m talking to someone with a different background, I like to keep in mind that I can use this as a learning opportunity and even though I’m the “professional” in the situation, it’s okay for me to admit that I don’t know what a certain ethnic dish is, that I don’t exactly know what language they speak.
This topic is definitely a very sensitive one, but one that I, as a minority, am happy to see being brought to the forefront. It’s the difficult topics that create positive change after all!
What are your thoughts? Do you feel culturally competent? What is cultural competence to you and how can we achieve this?
My answer: liiiveandletlive
where do RD's normally work? like what are the career possibilities?
Sorry it took so long for me to get to this! I was watching this video as I was researching what I may want to do for my elective rotation. She touches on a few of the different career paths dietetics can take you into [community, media, working for universities, working in government programs like WIC (women, infants, children), wellness promotion].
Since our field is evolving so rapidly right now and our society is understanding the role of nutrition, the job opportunities are infinite! Many new RDs like to start off in the hospital working as clinical dietitians and may go on to get certified in diabetes education or nutrition support [to name just 2!]; these certifications help you specialize and focus in on what your interests are.
Off the top of my head, RDs can work in [see attached links]:
And the list can go on. If you can dream it, you can do it ;) In all honesty, though, if you find a demand and you can fill it by making a strong case for yourself, you can go just about ANYWHERE with dietetics!
This blog post is overdue by a week! I’ve been swamped down here and am actually glad for this 4 hour bus ride back to SLO just to catch up on blogging [and a little bit of sleep]. Okay, so coffee in hand, let me tell you about my school food service rotation in Paso Robles!
If I were to sum up this rotation in a word it would be ‘’cooking.’’ I went into this rotation thinking I would be involved in the technical side of food service, like the paperwork and ordering/purchasing of food products. As usual I was wrong and surprised. I should be accustomed to this pattern by now.
I was thrown into everything my first day when I shadowed my preceptor’s meeting eith Coca Cola. We visited school sites, particularly the junior highs and high school, to determine how Coke could market and advertise while providing products that students would both buy and stay within USDA guidelines. This was difficult for me because, as a future dietitian and lifelong health nut, every fiber in my being was screaming, Don’t trust Coke! Yes, they weren’t pushing actual soda due to the school guidelines, but loading up on energy drinks and juices…I’m personally not in favor of that for pre-teens.
This meeting was only the first of many epiphanies in viewing school food as a business. I just never thought of it that way. When I think of school food service, I think of getting kids fed within the NSLP guidelines and hpoefully setting down some foundation for nutritious eating. The issues I think of include making lunches healthier, ensuring all the students who are in need of lunches [and breakfasts] are getting access to them, but never as meeting financial goals and tracking profits and losses.
Which is not to say my preceptor was solely profit focused. He had high hopes for the dietetic intern to come up with healthy recipes and then introduce those recipes to the students. Which is how I had the chance to whip very large bowls of some delcious bulgur pilaf, a savory spaghetti primavera, and some very popular banana ice cream (in two flavors!).
At first, I was having fun cooking, but after the second or third time making my bulgur dish, I evaluated what I wanted to get out of this rotation- this is a habit I’ve been getting into with all my rotations. It’s important to ask yourself what you want out of the rotation, which can be hard because as an intern, I don’t feel like I know what I should really be looking for! At the end, I was thankful for the opportunity to cook on such a large scale and become comfortable with a large kitchen envirinoment. I figured that all the paperwork and technical stuff would be covered in my 8 week hospital food service rotation, a rotation I am currently feeling overwhelmed with!
I was assigned a school site to be at during every lunch period [and a couple of breakfast periods as well] and this was the school I also introduced and served my dishes to. It was great getting to know the kids and I found that after the kids became more familiar with me, the more willing they were to try my dishes. On my last day, a bunch of the kids were gleefully telling me that they loved my cooking! At least I was impressing someone ;)
I also made up a project for myself to really maximize my time at the school distrcit. Speaking to the lunch lady, I found she wanted the kids to really know what half a cup of fruits and veggies looked like, and I thought this was a perfect opportunitiy for me to help out with that! My preceptor went over ordering with me in addition to that other technical stuff I had originally hoped for, so I got a taste of both sides.
Working with kids was refreshing, their energy and zeal for everything made my days extra bright and happy! Their positive energy completely influenced my energy which made a big difference in my overall results, I’m missing the little buggers right now ;)
Over the summer my sister was involved in some public health community events. I saw her running from meeting to meeting and would constantly tease her that the team had so many meetings, but I never actually saw her doing any work. What in the world would they be “meeting” about?
Well, after my first week at STRIDE I had to call her and admit that I got it now. I understood the importance of meetings. At STRIDE, I was attending 2-3 meetings per day [for the first week, at least, to give me a taste] and the first day I was totally confused. What was I supposed to be learning? What should I be taking away? I was brand new and had no idea what everyone was talking about! But then I had to shift my perspective. I took a step back and instead of focusing on the details of what everyone was saying, I decided to look at the whole picture. I looked instead at everyone’s role and what was implicitly expected from everyone attending the meeting. The details of what they were saying were irrelevant to me, the observer. Understanding the expectations of each person, however, was where I could learn.
After observing many meetings and eventually discussing them with my preceptors, I determined that meetings are super essential, BUT meetings are also what the people in attendance make of them. Meetings help keep everyone up to speed on what different segments of the team are up to. Meetings help determine where collaborations can be formed to maximize resources and efficiency to best benefit the population we’re trying to reach.
Even though meetings consist of a bunch of people, each individual really determines the effectiveness of a meeting. I found that the following things are utterly important for every single person in attendance to keep in mind:
Punctual- be on time and if you can’t be on time, let your fellows know so that when you pop in fifteen minutes late, it’s not an unexpected distraction. Punctuality helps everyone stay focused, shows respect for others’ time, and increases efficiency.
Prepared- the people attending the meeting are usually representing a team of individuals, so hopefully they’ve been communicating effectively with their team and are ready to present what has been achieved by said team. It was obvious when people came to the meeting unprepared, without notes or without something prepared to present. Having a rough idea of what’s been accomplished and what you plan to work on in the coming time period allows everyone to understand your end goal and thus, help you reach that end goal.
Present- staying focused makes the meeting worthwhile. Wouldn’t you hate to have spaced out and a question was asked that you can’t answer or have to stutter around before admitting you zoned out? Meetings can be long, but staying present makes the meeting move quicker and worth your time. Try taking notes to keep your mind focused!
Oh look, 3 P’s!! I feel so clever right now, that was a total accident, but hey that works!! Anyways, I’m totally excited about this newfound understanding and hope you can learn from it as well!
Hope your week is going well,
I’m a week late on posting this summary of my last rotation, but here it is! I was rotating at STRIDE (Science through Translational Research for Diet and Exercise) and it was a research rotation. I’ve never done research before, so this was a new experience for me and since Cal Poly applies its motto of “Learn by Doing” to everything it is involved in, I was guessing research would be a great embodiment of that!
So, STRIDE has many different things going on, from community outreach events to actual research in conjunction with the NIH and I was able to be a part of all of it! The current research project with NIH focused on healthy weight gain in pregnancy and in post-partum women as well. I was able to take part in actual assessment which included anthropometric measures as well as diet recalls. It was great hands-on experience!
In addition to participating in the actual research, I was able to sit in on quite a few meetings [what I learned in general from the meetings requires a completely separate post!] and help out with a few events. STRIDE is great at involving undergrads in its programs, so I was able to sit in on one of the classes they have for the undergrads where they discuss different outreach events they as a group can participate in. I was able to participate in a Pink and Dudes Chefs as well as the very well-known City to Sea half-marathon!
Whoa whoa whoa—Pink and Dudes? What’s that? Let me tell you! It’s this great nutrition education program offered to middle school students as an after-school option. There’s a straight up lecture portion followed by a hands-on cooking experience. The students learn about different nutrition topics, food, and kitchen skills and then are able to apply what they learn in the kitchen! It’s awesome and the kids are so excited and receptive to it!
For City to the Sea, STRIDE was in charge of the Kids Zone, so they set up a bunch of different activities for kids ages 3-11. We had to set up early, so waking up at 4 am to get ready and be at the site [meaning the beach!!] by 6 am. Trying to set things up in the dark: not the quickest, but we made it work. There was an obstacle course, a jump house, as well as nutrition education in the form of tri-fold boards and samples. Kids love samples. It was all very fun and everyone had an upbeat attitude so naturally the kids were all attracted to it!
I also did a lot of projects. A lot. I created a couple presentations, gave a presentation at one of the meetings, created a promotional handout for Pink and Dudes, and a couple other little things. Oh right, and a lot of article readings to understand the basis of the NIH research. STRIDE was one of the more time- and work-intensive rotations thus far and kept me busy throughout the two weeks, but I think that’s why I may have enjoyed it so much. This rotation also required a lot more independence on my part. I’ve become so accustomed to just shadowing the RD I’m rotating with, but here I was given a schedule on the first day and expected to execute it on my own. I actually liked that component! I was comfortable enough now with how rotations should be going and starting the discern what I should be getting from each rotation that this self-reliant thing was great practice.
This past week and next week, I’m rotating with a school district as part of the food service portion and boy is this one a fun rotation! Lots to come, guys!
Have a great week!
I was so in love with my WIC rotation! I learned so much and had some awesome preceptors who were so supportive and encouraging. All the conversations I had with each of my preceptors not only taught me something new, but gave me so much insight into what you can do with a dietetics career- and it feels limitless since the field is evolving right now.
This WIC rotation was actually a WIC/Public Health rotation, so I got a flavor of what a public health nutritionist does- and it is a lot. Everyone, though, seems to be wearing multiple hats and getting a lot done under one job title. It’s amazing. And I was actually there right in the middle of the government shut down, so I was able to see how a federal agency deals with such instability!
A few of the things I was able to do:
- See the counseling of WIC clients before they receive vouchers
- Visit an elementary school for an apple taste testing (so much fun!!!) in order to assess the effectiveness of federal education programs
- Expand my knowledge on lactation, the importance of breastfeeding (breastfeeding is SO important for the short term AND long term health of the mother and baby people!!), and give a presentation on that very topic at a lactation seminar- nerve wracking but so awesome!
- Shadow an IBCLC- international board certified lactation consultant- as she helped new and expecting mothers with issues surrounding breastfeeding. This was one of my favorite parts, especially since I was in charge of taking care of the newborns (like, 3 days old)!!
- Prepare a newsletter to circulate among staff related to wellness and nutrition!
- Another presentation but this time for the wellness activity at the staff meeting and a little overview of hemp hearts (remember how obsessed I am?)
See? VARIETY!! On top of everything I learned and experienced, the people were amazing. I cannot get over the WIC staff, seriously. Each and everyone of them was amazing and so eager to share their knowledge with me and give me advice on counseling, getting through the internship, and life in general. So awesome. (Have I said awesome enough?) I loved their energy and their obvious respect for each other, it was such a great environment to be a part of! I already miss it :)
My next rotation is going to be a research rotation at STRIDE which I’m nervous about since I’ve never felt research to be my forte, but hey, you never know what you’ll like until you give it a sincere try!
Until then, I am off!
My week 4 outfits during my rotation at WIC. I think I should get more on accessorizing…I’ll work on it eventually :)
Week 3 outfits
This was my first week at my WIC rotation and I absolutely LOVE it so far! More to come on that later, but for now- outfits!
Friday’s outfit is not shown because…I forgot to photograph it. It was a white peplum top with black panels and black cigar pants, so visualize with me!
Be back in a bit,
Week 3 of the internship began today with the first class of the
semester quarter! I need to really get accustomed to saying quarter! Class is every Monday 10 am- 3pm, so it’s a nice break from rotations, from getting up at 530 am, and a great time for all us interns to reconvene and talk about what’s going on in each of our rotations.
Today wasn’t too heavy at all. We had a guest lecturer talk about HIPAA and privacy issues; we had preceptors from our research rotation come and talk to us, as well, and after a lovely picnic lunch we ended the day with a talk on researching at our campus library. See? Super low-key, but super important day!
Tomorrow marks the first day of my WIC rotation, and I’m pretty excited and anxious and nervous all at once! I’m accepting that this will be the norm any time I start a new rotation, though.
How is your internship going?