A Week of Clinical Nutrition at Teay’s Valley Hospital

I am spending this entire week focusing on clinical nutrition and medical nutrition therapy at Teay’s Valley Hospital.  Teay’s Valley Hospital (TVH) is a small, 70-bed, rural hospital located in Hurricane, WV.  Associated with Charleston Area Medical Center, TVH is located about 25 minutes outside of downtown Charleston, WV.

I have had the opportunity to work with the on-staff registered dietitian. One of the biggest adjustments I have had to make is the transition from electronic charting to PAPER charting!  I have always been used to reading a patient’s medical record electronically, so the process of paper charting was completely Greek to me.  But I think it will be beneficial for me to experience how things are run in different types of  hospitals.  And the paper charting wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be…even though it sometimes felt like I was deciphering through hieroglyphics! 🙂

As the weeks of my clinical rotation roll by, I am slowly beginning to become familiar and comfortable with the daily roles and responsibilities of being a clinical dietitian. And thank goodness, because isn’t that the purpose of the dietetic internship?! Like they always say…practice, practice, practice!


CAMC Outpatient Diabetes Education Program

Today I had the opportunity to observe a diabetes education lesson as part of the CAMC Outpatient Diabetes Education Program. This is a very educational and helpful program for ALL people with diabetes, including their family members.  Comprised of 3 parts over a 3 month time period, individuals learn about all the components of staying in control of their diabetes.

Today’s Step-3 lesson was taught by an individual who was a credentialed Registered Dietitian and CDE (CDE stands for Certified Diabetes Educator!).  There were about 15 patients and family members who participated. The dietitian was a great instructor who really engaged the participants and made the program interactive by speaking very clearly and making the material easy to understand. She wrote on the board, used food models, referred to handouts, and presented a PowerPoint called “Eat Your Way to a Healthier You”, which highlighted tips for healthy cooking, grocery shopping, and eating out. What I liked most about the lesson is that the participants got to know each other and the classroom became a “mini support group”. Individuals were able to openly share ideas for healthy eating, areas they were struggling with, and were able to really relate to one another.

Here are some of the notes I wrote down during the lesson that I thought was really helpful!

The Components of Diabetes:

  • Monitoring – Both blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Healthy Eating – Of course this was the most fun part for me! In terms of the patient’s diets, they were working on reading food labels, consuming less red meat, increasing fiber, increasing fruits and vegetables, eating the recommended number of carbohydrates, and maintaining balanced and consistent meals.
  • Healthy Coping –  Did you know that nearly 70% of diabetics have experienced depression at some point in their life?? I thought this statistic was staggering. That is why the dietitian leading the class felt healthy coping and stress management was the most important part of controlling diabetes.
  • Reducing Risks – This includes always having a snack or glucose tabs on hand just in case of low blood sugar. When a person does have low blood sugar, it becomes very difficult to think clearly. Therefore, it is even more important to have these snacks prepared and ready for an emergency.
  • Problem Solving – Why did I have low blood sugar? How can I prevent this in the future?
  • Physical Activity
  • Regular Check-Ups
  • Medications

Steps for Treating Low Blood Sugar:

  1. Check your blood sugar
  2. Eat 15 g of simple carbs – Aim for 15 g of simple carbs, around 60-80 calories (this is equal to about 4 glucose tablets!).
  3. Wait 15 minutes
  4. Recheck your blood sugar
  5. Eat 1/2 a sandwich

Here are some food models used during the diabetes program to show individuals proper serving sizes!