DIETETIC FIELD EXPERIENCE Tiffany Hahn INTRODUCTION: BARRON COUNTY AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER, BARRON, WI May to August 2010 272 Hours completed at site Volunteer Work Provides a community resource for older adults and adults with disabilities that offers information and connections, counseling, family care benefits, and access to nutrition programs and healthy meals at senior centers as well as meals on wheels Worked under Leslie Fijalkiewicz, the dietitian and nutrition program manager INTRODUCTION: DUNN COUNTY WIC CLINIC, MENOMONIE, WI February to August 2010 109.5 Hours completed Volunteer Work WIC is a federal grant program that serves lowincome pregnant women, breastfeeding and non breastfeeding mothers, infants, and children up to age five that are at a nutritional risk. These individuals receive food packages, counseling, and other various items. Worked under registered dietitian, Ellen Blumer ROLE AT THE SITES AND HOW FIELD EXPERIENCE WAS OBTAINED Field Experience was obtained by researching the internet for dietitians in the area and by contacting the dietitians by telephone to set up an interview to meet in person. My role at the Aging and Disability Resource Center was a volunteer/intern. I would work alongside the dietitian to complete any necessary tasks. I mainly dealt with the meals on wheels program, meals at the senior centers, and commodity food program through the USDA. My role at the WIC Clinic was labeled as a WIC Clerk. I worked alongside the registered dietitian in providing nutrition information and counseling, scheduling appointments, informing potential clients about benefits of WIC, printing WIC checks, and working at the Menomonie Farmer’s Market. REQUIRED PROJECT SELF-REFLECTIVE JOURNAL Self-reflective journal allowed me to take the observations and hands on experience from the sites and reflect upon what I had learned in my classes. I reflected upon courses or manner of patient education for the WIC Program. The journal related to almost all of my nutrition and food service courses taken and was very beneficial in increasing further understanding. I reflected upon procedures for tray assembly and service, control systems, food service and sanitation, selection of employees, and recruitment of employees for the Aging and Disability Resource Center. Reasoning for more reflection on Aging and Disability Resource Center is because they have food service, which WIC does not, and they are more involved in human resources than WIC. REQUIRED PROJECT BUDGET PROCESS I sat down with the program dietitian at the Aging and Disability Resource Center and looked over the budget from the previous year to calculate the budget for the 2011 budget. I also got to sit down with the financial advisor. The program dietitian and financial advisor work together during the budgeting process at the Aging and Disability Resource Center. Budgeting helped me to utilize cost control tactics learned from Quantity Food Production, and helped me to better understand my current course Foodservice, Finance, and Cost Control. PROJECT # 1 Objective: Create nutrition education materials for the program Beneficial Bites, as well as, giving oral presentations for the program. Every month a new food is chosen to be incorporated into the menu at the Aging and Disability Resource Center to expose participants to a variety of healthy foods. I created presentations, handouts, posters, games, and many other activities each month based on the chosen food. I also gave the presentations at the meal sites to enhance learning. This objective related to nutrition education and community nutrition in administering a nutrition program. PROJECT # 2 Objective: Create health promotion and informational bulletin boards and health promotion hand outs to create awareness for WIC and public health participants This relates to Community Nutrition and Nutrition Education courses in developing health promotional items focused on the target audience to enhance wellness. PROJECT # 3 Objective: Participate in health promotion activity at Menomonie Farmer’s Market and evaluate needs of community, while giving out nutrition information Each week a food was chosen at the farmer’s market to be used in a recipe. I would develop a healthy cooking demonstration and give out free samples, recipes, and nutritional facts about the food. It helped out a lot to have had Quantity Food Production and Multicultural Foods to help me to be comfortable with cooking and multiplying out yields for recipes, Multicultural foods also helped me to have a baseline for understanding the Hmong population that is increasing in Menomonie and to further develop my cultural competency. Community Nutrition also helped me to prepare the necessary materials to communicate the nutrition message of the chosen fruit/vegetable/herb. PROJECT # 4 Objective: Interview residents to determine satisfaction face to face and through a survey format to compare which yields best results A set of questions were developed to gain feedback on the participants of the nutrition program at the Aging and Disability Resource Center to help improve the program. Interviewing and surveys were gone over in Principles of Management and Food Service Administration courses to make sure individual’s needs were being met to sustain the program PROJECT # 5 Objective: Compile descriptions of therapeutic diets provided by all contracted vendors. Work with program dietitian to create standard definitions for Barron County Elderly Nutrition Program to facilitate better communication of participant needs when contracting these special diets Basic nutrition helped to understand the basic concepts of the diets, but other than my nutrition course, I had not had a lot of experience with therapeutic diets. This project is helping me to connect what I learned over the summer in my Medical Nutrition Therapy class currently. PROJECT # 6 Objective: Rotate through all foodservice positions providing relief as appropriate. Write a job description of all positions I rotated through the cook, kitchen aide, dishwasher, site manager, and meal delivery driver positions at the Aging and Disability Resource Center. I then wrote a job description based off of what I did on the job and based off of interviewing the employees about their jobs. In Quantity Food Production we wrote job descriptions for each food service position that we used in creating our meal, so I was able to use a similar template for this objective and further expand my knowledge base. PROJECT # 7 Objective: Plan and implement food safety and sanitation training for nutrition program staff I created a jeopardy game for training the nutrition program staff and went to the various kitchens and meal sites to implement my traning program. I took Food Service and Sanitation and Quantity Food Production which helped me in creating the topics for the game based on the current food safety and sanitation guidelines. It was also beneficial that I rotated through the food service positions in project six because I was able to see what safety and sanitations areas needed to be focused on PROJECT # 8 Objective: Write a state or federal legislator about a nutrition issue I researched the bill H.R. 5504, Improving Nutrition for Children Act, and found that as an aspiring nutrition professional, I strongly supported it. I then wrote to my Congressman Dave Obey. This bill is a reauthorization of child nutrition programs such as school lunch and school breakfast CONCLUSION AND WORDS OF ADVICE Obtaining my field experience was also a great way to make connections with dietitians in the field and a way to have references when applying for internships and jobs. In the future, I will be able to show the experience I have in the field of dietetics when applying for jobs and internships. It will be a great way to show the effort I have put into my desired profession. Don’t sit back and wait to find your experience until the last minute. I took a whole summer off of work after my junior year to be able to complete the required hours. If that isn’t possible for you, try to spread out your field experience over two summers so that you can work some of the time as well. If you get turned down by some sites, don’t let that stop you from trying other places. I tried to get into a lot of places before I got my two sites, and they were great experiences. If you haven’t taken that many nutrition classes yet, don’t let that stop you from getting the experience. I took a lot of knowledge from my field experience, and I am currently applying it in my senior level classes.