Summer is a busy time for HES students to complete internships. This series will spotlight students and their intern experiences
Name: Matt Saulnier
Kentucky Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs, St. Joseph Health Care, and UK Health & Wellness
What is your typical day as an intern?
I arrive at St. Joseph around 8 a.m. and print off the census sheet. Depending on what floor I'm assigned, I go through the list and figure out what patients are due for either assessments or follow ups. Afterwards, I rank patients based upon severity and see the most critically ill patients first. Often, these are patients who are on either EN (enteral nutrition) or TPN (total parenteral nutrition). I gather information on each from their electronic medical records and go and visit them. I gather information from the patients, their nurses, and their paper charts. Afterwards, I chart and make my recommendations. The unique thing about St. Joe's is that the registered dietitians sometimes have control over EN and are able to change TF (tube feeding) formulas and rates as they see fit.
How are you applying classroom knowledge in your internship?
I'm applying all the information I learned in medical nutrition therapy classes to real life scenarios. This combined with the Nutrition Care Manual are helping me figure out what recommendations to make from patient to patient.
What is one key thing you have learned during your internship?
The biggest thing I have learned is that you cannot help a patient with every problem they have. For example, just because their past medical history says that once had HTN (hypertension) does not mean they need to be on a Cardiac diet. This has been hard for me to learn because I want to treat the patient as a whole.
What advice would you share with other students who are preparing to complete an internship?
I would say, be prepared to study once you get off work. I truly never realized how much studying I would have to do outside of the internship to succeed while I was at work.