I haven’t done an RDville post in a few weeks, and my…how time has flown! And the things I’ve learned! Mostly about enteral nutrition (tube feeding) and parenteral nutrition (feeding via an IV).
When I’ve mentioned that to friends and family, they’ve been like, “Whaaat?” Mostly because tube feeding is not what they envisioned me doing when I started down this road to grad school and beyond. That’s OK, because I don’t see myself with a big future in tube feeding, either. But it’s an important skill to learn, and one that I will need when I do the clinical portion of my supervised practice experience rotations. Besides, never say never.
I have definitely gained an appreciation for registered dietitians who do work a lot with patients who can’t get their nutrition by mouth. Figuring out what a patient needs and matching it to what can be fed through a tube or IV isn’t a no-brainer…it takes a brain, good judgment, experience and math skills! Put all of that together, and my acute care lab class has been challenging. While I do have a brain and good judgment, I don’t have clinical experience (yet) and my math skills have become a bit rusty from lack of use (I haven’t done serious math since I was finishing up biochemistry and studying for my GREs almost two years ago.)
My other big project at the moment is a case study for my Maternal and Infant Nutrition class. A pregnant woman with an unplanned second pregnancy who is living an unhealthy lifestyle, in part due to taking care of a “challenging” 13-month-old and dealing with a lot of other stress in her life. This is not someone to whom you can say, “Well, you need to start getting 30 minutes of exercise a day and start cooking wholesome meals from scratch instead of eating fast food.” No, that would not fly.
So…when faced with a laundry list of nutrition and lifestyle problems that put health of both mother and child at risk, where does one start? With whatever the mother is willing to work on, I say. If we can get her to eat more fruits and vegetables and going for a 10-minute walk because it might ease her constipation, and those things just happen to be better for the baby’s health, too, then it’s a win-win.
And that’s what I’m up to at the moment!