This week, I’ve been in my WIC rotation, but first I need to talk about my pediatrics rotation! Last week was my pediatrics rotation at SLCH. For us, pediatrics isn’t a huge focus of our internship – it’s just a one week observational rotation. Still, as short as the rotation was, it was very educational.
Since it was observational, I pretty much just shadowed the RDs. I was lucky enough to be able to follow many different RDs at the children’s hospital, so I got to see what MNT looked like for every age group – from the not-even-a-day-old to those who were just entering adulthood. I was able to assist the RDs from time to time with some consults by chiming in with ideas, but I learned so much from just listening to them. The RDs were all very skilled at speaking with worried parents and reassuring them.
SLCH was also participating in Nutrition Day, an event where many different hospitals across the world complete a cross-sectional audit and I was able to help out. After the internal audit (a short survey the hospitals ask the patients) the hospitals submit the data they collected, and will later get information about how other similar hospitals are doing in comparison. At least, that’s the way I understand it and the way the head RD explained it to me. This was the first time SLCH was participating, so they were looking forward to seeing how it all works out.
There were a few case studies for me to complete during the rotation and I really loved these. I feel pretty good about my calculations when it comes to tube feeding, but I kept doubting myself because the answers I came up with were so small! When all you’ve practiced for tube feed calculations have been for adults, the amounts needed for infants can seem distressingly low. I went over my calculations with one of the RDs and told her why I was feeling uncertain over them, and she just kind of laughed then reassured me that she had gone through the same thoughts when she switched from working with adult patients to pediatrics.
While in my pediatrics rotation, I learned a lot about various medical conditions I had never heard of, such as neuromyelitis optica, latex fruit syndrome, and eosinophilic encephalitis to name a few, and the associated MNT or special nutrition considerations. It seemed like every day I was there, someone was talking about an interesting case they had or have had and I was looking up information about the associated MNT so I could ask questions. I got to sit in a lot of transplant committee meetings and learned a lot about the Herculean effort (of all the associated medical teams, the patient, the patient’s family and friends, and sometimes the donor) that goes into organ transplants.
The big thing I learned though? Pediatric nutrition would be an exciting field to go into if you like research. There aren’t that many well-established guidelines for a lot of the critical care situations the RDs and I talked about and there’s a definite need. If I go into pediatric nutrition, I’d want to be at a facility that encourages research and to help develop guidelines of care for various critical care situations.
And I want to share this just because I thought this was a cute idea: To encourage the patients to complete their physical rehabilitation or just to stay active and do “laps” of the ward, the wards had these adorable pieces of artwork scattered throughout that had buttons. When the buttons were pressed, a song associated with the artwork would play.