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Texas State DI Blog

The MS/DI: Motivation and Survival Tips

Posted on 12/1/2017 @ 2:04 pm.

In this report from the field, DI alumna Addie Abohosh, RD discusses her decision to pursue a master's degree, her thoughts on the experience, and how she's managing the work load.

Addie was a member of the 2016-2017 internship class at Texas State, and is currently completing her Master's in Human Nutrition following the combined option.


Alumni Update - Alexandra McKee, MS, RD

Headshot of Texas State dietetic internship alumna
Alexandra McKee, MS, RD and Texas State Alumna

Posted on 11/9 @ 12:49pm

Alex was part of the 2016 - 2017 intern class at Texas State. She is passionate about dietetics and excited to share her experiences.

Where are you working?

I am currently working at an integrative pediatric gastroenterology clinic as well as an eating disorder clinic while trying to grow my private practice and other side hustles as time allows.

What is your role in this organization?

At the pediatric clinic, I am a registered dietitian who consults on dietary recommendations (most often with pediatric patients) for different digestive related conditions. Most commonly I am working with people on following a low-FODMAP diet for SIBO/fructose malabsorption, recommendations for food allergies, ways to help with poor weight gain, and decreasing reflux in infants. I work alongside another dietitian, an MD, and a naturopath. This integrative approach has proven to be so successful in treating the whole person.

At the eating disorder clinic, I am also a registered dietitian in an intensive outpatient setting and see clients for one-on-one sessions, conduct group nutrition education classes, lead intuitive eating groups, and share meals with clients to support in their recovery.

For my private practice, I focus on women’s health and prenatal nutrition by offering online nutrition counseling services. I hope to grow this to include working with pediatric clients and clients with eating disorders.

Female dietitian sits behind a computer and smiles.
Alex working at the pediatric GI clinic

What is your favorite part of your current job?

I absolutely love the outpatient setting for the ability to interact with clients for a longer amount of time to build rapport and truly be a part of their wellness journey. The patients at both clinics want to be there and are really motivated to make changes, which is so rewarding when those changes come to fruition.  I have especially become a huge fan of the all foods fit, health at every size, and intuitive eating movements. This way of approaching food and health has been so great in not only understanding my own relationship to food and my body, but supporting my patients to do the same. This is something I am really passionate about and I am working to spread the ditch-the-diet, love-yourself mentality!

What was most surprising to you about practicing dietetics as an RD?

Honestly, it is how much I truly enjoy being a dietitian as well as experiencing those positive reactions and successes in the patient’s life. I feel like we can really make a difference in someone’s life and it is just an amazing feeling to be part of their journey. It was also surprising, yet so helpful, the amount of support that is out there for dietitians and what a strong community we have as a profession. Anything from the professional groups, to mentors, to conferences and colleagues, it definitely adds to quality of life as an RD.

What aspects of your internship best prepared you for your current job?

The experience in the outpatient setting (CommUnityCare Clinics) was especially helpful in order to practice motivational interviewing and work on being flexible in meeting patients where they are at. The most valuable part of the internship though was having the experience to develop my own food and nutrition philosophy so that when I am faced with uncertain situations I can always rely on my core values to make the right decisions and offer the best possible care.  

Any advice for future interns?

I really encourage you to look beyond traditional nutrition mentalities and clinical thinking and focus on people as people first, not as symptoms and diagnoses. Focus on establishing rapport, identifying their motivations for change, and healing their relationship with themselves and food, only then will they be prepared to truly make sustainable health changes. Also, read Intuitive Eating and be a practitioner of weight inclusivity! People need us to help breakdown weight stigma so everyone gets the unbiased care they truly need!

 


Alumni Update - Taylor Moyer, RD

Posted on 9/28 @ 1:25pm

Taylor was part of the 2016 - 2017 intern class at Texas State, and she's excited to talk about what she's doing now.

Where are you working?

I work at the Eating Recovery Center, which is a facility that supports people in overcoming various types of eating disorders.

What is your role in this organization/what do you do?

I am a Dietary Assistant, so my primary role is working with patients during their meals. I help them overcome any anxiety they may feel around the meal, answer any questions they may have about their meal plan, and I ensure they are meeting their meal plan created by their dietitian.

What is your favorite part of your current job?

I love all aspects of my job, but if I had to choose just one thing, I would say watching patients make progress in their recovery is my favorite. It's such a great feeling to know the work I am doing is making a positive impact on my patients.

What was most surprising to you about practicing dietetics as an RD?

I was most surprised by all the different career options we have as RDs. I had no idea that our role could be so diverse and specialized. If I decided to leave this specialty, I would still have so many options under the nutrition umbrella.

What aspects of your internship best prepared you for your current job?

Because my internship was through Texas State, I was lucky enough to have a three- week rotation at ERC. During that time, I gained a wealth of experience and knowledge about working with this sensitive population. Having a rotation here and building a rapport with the staff is what landed me this job.

Any advice for future interns?

Stay positive and open to new ideas! Preceptors love an intern who is engaged during their rotation. Because I went into each rotation with an open mind, I built strong relationships with my preceptors, had fun, and got a job out of it!


My Urban Roots Experience

dietetic intern working on a farm
Me on the farm!

Posted on 9/8/17 @1:30 pm

My name is Courtney Cary and I am a Dietetic Intern at Texas State University. I completed my first rotation at Urban Roots in Austin, Texas. Urban Roots is a non-profit organization that allows youth interns to participate in paid internship programs to plant, care for, and harvest fruits and vegetables while building leadership and life skills and empowering themselves and the community.

I think this is so incredible! Not only do these young people have the opportunity to grow food sustainably, they get to nourish the community as well! Youth Interns participate in various activities and workshops to learn about food security, social justice, and many other aspects affecting the greater Austin area. Through these programs, youth are donating over 40% of produce grown to hunger-relief organizations in Austin such as soup kitchens and food pantries. The remaining produce is sold in local farmer’s market where interns interact with the community and gain valuable employable skills. Urban Roots has recruited a diverse group of young interns to shape into the next generation of community leaders.

Last year, a Texas State intern created a phenomenal nutrition curriculum in the form of workshops, so I felt as though I needed to step up my game and really produce something useful for this amazing program. My role as the Dietetic Intern was to incorporate a more comprehensive method to evaluate nutrition outcomes of their programs and also provide meaningful research to defend the purpose and mission of the Urban Roots programs. This research would also provide a blueprint for the incorporation of future programs offered by this organization.

The biggest challenge for me to overcome was shaping my previously biomedically-focused mind into a mind that viewed community nutrition holistically and through a social-emotional lens. This took me extensive research and long hours for me to be able to begin to think of nutrition in this way. At Urban Roots, nutrition is viewed as a way to nourish our bodies to lead healthy lives and empower ourselves to be the best we can be. This means performing meaningful hard work and rewarding our bodies with nourishing food to promote wellness. Willingness to try fruits and vegetables and the actual increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables are two highly favorable outcomes that are backed by peer-reviewed research that Urban Roots sets out to achieve. These outcomes will not only prove Urban Roots’ methods effective, but allow the community to see that growing and harvesting one’s own food reaps fantastic health benefits.

Viewing my research in this light, my Urban Roots experience revealed itself to become more eye-opening and my view on community nutrition became wider. Working with this incredible non-profit organization to promote health and leadership through youth was extremely empowering and allowed me to broaden my narrow-minded biomedical lens. Not only do I view community nutrition differently, but I now know that nutrition-related outcomes are not only measured for curing and preventing disease.