Graduate Internship Program in Nutrition
Madigan is one of three internship sites for the US Military-Baylor Graduate Program in Nutrition. The internship is the second phase of a two year program, the first year completed at the Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S) at Joint Base San Antonio. Madigan has been developing exceptional dietitians since 2009. The program is very demanding, requiring interns to conduct research and complete a Masters thesis while also completing over 1,300 internship hours. The Nutrition Care Division Team fosters an atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie to provide support during this challenging year. Our graduates are prepared to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration examination to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Once registered they are ready to provide the variety of services expected of Army Dietitians and to assume leadership positions in the Army and beyond.
Nutrition Care Divsion
Madigan’s diverse patient population that encompasses the entire lifespan brings a variety of nutrition concerns to the inpatient and outpatient settings. Inpatient dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy to over 1,500 inpatients and over 5,000 outpatients a year. Multidisciplinary care is provided during three separate pediatric specialty clinics each month, and classes are provided within specific clinics outside of the Nutrition Clinic to support patients’ unique needs. Likewise, dietitians work directly with units across Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) to provide nutrition education to service members and their families. Dietitians are also involved in several community health promotion activities including the Pregnancy and Post-partum Physical Training Program, and annual events such as the Retiree Health Fair, National Nutrition Month activities, and Kids Fest. The Madigan Grille dining facility is also part of Nutrition Care Division, feeding approximately 9,000 meals to patients in the hospital and over 42,000 meals to patients, staff and guests in the dining facility per month.
Madigan’s 12 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are fully committed to training and developing top-notch Army Officers and Dietitians. Dietitians from the American Lake Veteran’s Affairs hospital, Sourh Sound Senior Services Meals on Wheels program, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program on Joint Base Lewis McChord also contribute to the interns’ learning experience. Madigan’s dietitian team is composed of Certified Specialists in Pediatric Nutrition, Nutrition Support, and in Sports Dietetics. A Certified Diabetes Educator from the Endocrinology Clinic compliments the team. The Graduate Program’s Research Director has a doctorate and is faculty with Baylor University. All of our staff have established records of excellence contributing to 100% of our intern graduates’ passing the registration examination the first time taken.
The Graduate Program in Nutrition
Madigan is a Phase Two site of the two phase Graduate Program in Nutrition. Before arriving at Madigan, the interns are students at the AMEDDC&S where they complete the didactic portion of their Master’s degree requirements (Phase One). After Phase One, four of the students come to Madigan to complete their internship and research for their Master’s degree. The internship and research rotation are fast paced, and both are completed in one year. The faculty works with each intern to provide personalized mentoring for academic, professional, and personal development and ensure they are set up for success upon training completion. The basic layout of the program is described below:
Medical Nutrition Therapy Rotation
Emphasis is on developing medical nutrition therapy (MNT) skills for a variety of nutrition diagnoses using evidence-based guidelines throughout the lifespan. Rotations include a basic MNT rotation on the medical/surgical wards, the dialysis center and the diabetes clinic, followed by advanced rotations on the intensive care unit, pediatric ward, and with the pediatric outpatient dietitian who covers the high risk pediatric specialty clinic appointments.
Community Nutrition Rotation
Emphasis is on developing skills at providing nutrition education for individuals and groups specific to the health needs of each audience. Individual medical nutrition therapy is provided for a wide variety of diagnoses from digestive health concerns to reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors. Providing relevant education for health promotion and wellness in group settings and using appropriate teaching methods and activities for the audience is also part of this rotation. The audience may be children at a Child and Youth Services Center, Soldiers who want to learn how to fuel for performance, or retirees who desire to maintain health and wellness. Three days are also spent with Meals On Wheels to understand nutrition challenges faced at the latter part of the lifespan, as well as the education and intervention needs of this growing population. Time spent with the WIC program dietitian provides perspective for the challenges faced by those who lack sufficient resources to obtain optimal nutrition for their developing fetus and infant up to two years of age.
Production and Service Rotation
Emphasis is on developing skills necessary to manage a foodservice operation. This is a multifaceted rotation encompassing patient feeding operations, quantity food preparation for the Madigan Grille dining facility, supply and inventory considerations for such operations, financial management, personnel management, and performance improvement. The American Lake VA hospital also acts as a site for this rotation.
Emphasis is placed on Nutrition Care Division operations, developing an understanding of the “bigger picture” and the various collaborators that the Nutrition Care Division leadership works with to complete the mission. This rotation focuses on honing leadership skills and qualities required of Army dietitians to function at a high level within any military environment upon graduation.
This rotation builds on basic research skills learned during Phase One, and emphasizes the skills necessary to understand research concepts and the ability to implement them. Particular emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills to evaluate scientific literature, writing the thesis and ensuring that evidence-based practices are implemented throughout their professional careers. It is a combination of didactic and experiential learning. Interns work collaboratively to manage a research protocol, conduct research in accordance with the protocol, and use data from the protocol for their theses and defenses.
In addition to bedside teaching and the learning that comes from daily patient encounters, interns participate in monthly journal clubs, complete projects that potentially impact Nutrition Care Division and Madigan more broadly, and become an integral part of the Nutrition Care team, often providing fresh insights and perspectives on a variety of issues.
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