Saint Louis University

BLOG: Full Circle Ending

Author: Annie Turner
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My journey started back in August 2012, but the real excitement started with the first clinical rotation–Diabetes–in early September. I did my Diabetes rotation with 7 other Saint Louis University (SLU) Interns at St. Mary’s Hospital. At the time, it was frightening to know that I was the one educating people on a diet to manage their disease. But I accepted the challenge, jumped right in, and haven’t looked back since!

Saint Louis University registered dietitians
Interns at St. Mary’s Hospital from Diabetes Week

This past week, I completed my final two-week clinical rotation was at SLU Care Obstetrics and Gynecology Outpatient Clinic. While this rotation was very different from first rotation at St. Mary’s, there was one thing in common: Diabetes. Hence, my “full circle ending.” Diabetes is a disease that many people are faced with today. As a Registered Dietitian-in-training, I experienced how Dietitians are instrumental in providing Diabetes education and disease management.

Saint Louis University registered dietitians
Photo from freedigitalphotos.net/.

At SLUCare, I spent my time with the Registered Dietitian (RD)/Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) who focuses on nutrition and diabetes management in women with high-risk pregnancies. The majority of these patients have pre-existing Type 1 or 2 Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes. In pregnancy, strict blood glucose monitoring and diet adherence is important for tight control and optimal fetal outcomes. Glucose crosses through the placenta from mom to the baby and blood sugar “highs” and “lows” are undesirable for fetal growth and development. Patients are asked to record their blood sugars as well as the foods they consume. The gestational diabetic patients are managed first by diet alone, then medication and insulin as a last resort. I found that diet education for these women was very encouraging. They are asked to manage a complex disease for a short period of time. IT’S CRAZY! These women are motivated by the end result: their baby. I was also very intrigued about pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy because I have a new sister-in-law who is Type 1 Diabetic. For women with Type 1 or 2 Diabetes, tight blood sugar control is important prior to conception to minimize risks of miscarriages and birth defects. I am excited to pass along my insights when it comes time for my brother and sister-in-law to give me a new niece or nephew!

Saint Louis University registered dietitians
Photo from freedigitalphotos.net/.

This internship has taught me a lot about nutrition and medical management, foodservice management, and the importance of community nutrition education. The internship has also taught be a lot about myself. I remember being so nervous walking into a patient’s room at St. Mary’s. Now, I am a confident individual as well as a skilled health care professional. I am looking forward to life as Dietitian!

At the time of graduation, our beloved director, Karen Steitz is retiring and starting the next chapter in her life. Best of Luck to you, Karen! Thank you for everything you have done for us!!

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