Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unintentional Hiatus and My New Job

I lost track of time and so here I finally am updating our blog. Since most of our readers have seen us recently and will see us soon, I thought it might be pointless in updating. However, I really enjoy having a blog so I will update anyway!

Probably the main reason I haven't updated in awhile is because of my new job. I was hired by a local hospital system as a PRN Clinical Dietitian. "PRN" means that I work on an "as needed" basis. So basically whenever a full-time dietitian needs a day off, I will cover their position. There are 5 hospitals that I cover! I've been trained in at each one, so that's exciting.

I'm frequently asked what exactly my job entails. People mostly tend to think I make sure people get the right diet or that I write menus. That is a small part of my job, but not really the sole reason I'm there. I can tell you that what I love most about my job is that every day is different. It really depends on the patient. Everyone is different.

Some patients cannot eat. This might be because of their diagnosis or they might be mechanically vented, which means a machine is breathing for them. Whatever the reason is, they might need to be fed through a tube. I determine their "nutrition needs" (calories, protein, etc) and choose the appropriate formula. There are different formulas for different needs: more concentrated for those who need fluid restriction, high protein, some that a lower in certain minerals, etc.

There are also times when a person cannot be on a tube feeding. So they will be fed through their vein, so to speak. Again, I determine their nutrition needs and then determine how much amino acids (protein), lipids (fat), and dextrose (carbohydrate) to give them. This method of nutrition is very expensive, but it's cool to think that you can receive nutrition right into your blood instead of your body digesting them first! Okay maybe I'm the only one here who thinks that's cool :)

I also do diet educations. I typically enjoy doing those because I get to visit with people. Of course, not every patient wants to hear me talk about their new diet, so sometimes it's not fun. I also talk with nurses and doctors about the patients. It's a team effort, which I like.

When I make my recommendations to the doctors, I have take the diagnosis, lab values, medications, past medical history and of course the patient's personal needs into consideration. There's seriously not a day that goes by when I don't learn something new.

So there's a brief overview of what Taylor Wingo, RD, LD does as a clinical dietitian. The RD stands for Registered Dietitian and the LD stands for Licensed Dietitian. The RD is what I studied my rear-end off for and is a national designation. The LD is a state of Tx designation and I had to take an exam over the state laws of my licensure. Both licenses require continuing education and of course a yearly fee! That part is pretty much the same with any other health professional with a license.


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