Community Rotation: St. Luke’s Hospital

After Cardiology, I had a month of community rotations – HPDP and St. Luke’s.

At St. Luke’s, our preceptor was an RD who is part of the community outreach team at St. Luke’s.  She teaches or hosts most of the nutrition-related classes that St. Luke’s holds for the community, goes out into the community to teach classes at organizations, works at health fairs in the community, and works at St. Luke’s health events for its own employees.  Her schedule was always changing.  This meant that for the St. Luke’s rotation, every intern had a different experience because it all depended on what events had been scheduled the week each intern was there.

In my case, I got a taste of corporate and community wellness.  My week with St. Luke’s was packed and I hit the ground running.  Right after I got a quick tour and introduction to everyone I’d be working with, I was told I would be helping with the “Bone Builders” class that night.  That was a really interesting topic and I learned a few things.  The class was taught by the dietitian I was helping, a physical therapist, and a pharmacist.  From the physical therapist, I learned a couple of methods to help keep my posture aligned properly.  From the pharmacist, I learned about what to look for when buying calcium supplements.  The dietitian and I covered sources of dietary calcium.

I spent the next day with a IBCLC.  This was a very different experience than working with the IBCLCs at WIC where I met with moms who had been moms for months or years.  With the St. Luke’s IBCLC, I spent the day meeting moms who had just had babies – as in, some of the babies weren’t even 24 hours old.  The day I was there, all of the moms recovering were not first-time mothers, but they all still had questions.  One mom was having difficulty with breastfeeding, so I got to see the IBCLC and the nurses “in action,” so to speak.    I also was able to answer some questions about nutrition and breastfeeding, weight loss, child nutrition, and general nutrition.

The next day, I worked with the RD and a group of nurses who were all trained health coaches at an employee wellness event for St. Luke’s employees.  This let me get a taste of wellness screenings and health coaching, as well as corporate wellness since the employees get incentives for improving or maintaining their health. After that, it was time for the big event of the day – a “Lunch and Learn” for the City of Manchester.  We wanted to have food samples available for the presentation, so a lot of my late morning was spent prepping the food samples.  I had already worked on the presentation the night before and the RD had approved it.  Because we ended up pressed for time, she gave the presentation while I finished up the food preparation.  Just as I made sure every one had samples, she finished up the presentation and it was time for me to lead a “Blubber Burger” exercise.  (That’s always a hit with participants, no matter the age.)  We stayed afterwards to answer questions.

For my last official day at St. Luke’s, I worked with the RD at a health fair at one of the nearby colleges.  This was a fun event as there were lots of health related companies present, as well as free massages, music, and puppies to play with.  We had a small “spin the wheel” game for people to play and we shared information about St. Luke’s events/classes, the Spirit of Women program, and recipes.  While there, I finally got around to signing up for the Bone Marrow Registry.   I highly encourage anyone who can to join the registry, especially if you’re of mixed ethnic ancestry.  If you’ve thought about joining in the past, but didn’t meet the medical guidelines, please check again as I used to be disqualifed.

I loved working with St. Luke’s so much that I ended up coming in to volunteer on the Saturday after my rotation.  I had previously volunteered with St. Luke’s for a presentation on how cancer and diet are linked, but this time I got to staff a booth at a community health fair where we did diabetes screenings.  I got pretty good at conducting the screenings, but I was nowhere near as good as the RD who basically could do the screenings with one hand.

If you’re in the St. Louis area, definitely check out the classes and events hosted by St. Luke’s – a lot of them are free and totally amazing.  And if you’re a female living in the St. Louis metro area, give some consideration to joining the Spirit of Women program- you can get some pretty cool discounts with it.

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