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Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations are 20 weeks long and all are within our facility or are located close by.

Clinical Projects

Interns will rotate individually through each rotation and work under the supervision of the Registered/Licensed Dietitian (RD/LD). During the clinical rotations, interns will begin with introductory learning experiences such as cardiology and progress to more complex ones such as critical care as they complete each rotation. The interns first learn the basic skills for clinical nutrition care of hospitalized patients. Interns will master skills in reading medical records, gathering and analyzing nutritionally relevant data, and generating a complete nutrition assessment for individual patients. The interns will also develop care plans, implement nutrition interventions and monitor patient progress. Interns will chart using the Nutrition Care Process and will also receive practice in coding for malnutrition.

WVU Medicine is a Level 1 Trauma center for adults and one of only 21 verified Level 2 pediatric trauma centers in the United States, therefore will provide the opportunity for unique learning experiences not found in other facilities. Because WVU Medicine is a teaching hospital, there are always opportunities to observe surgeries and procedures related to clinical rotations. Past interns have observed gastric bypass, ENT and various cardiac surgeries and procedures. Interns are also able to observe feeding tube placement, modified barium swallow studies and work with our wound care nurses.

Medicine/Nephrology - (2 weeks) –
Interns will be exposed to a variety of medical conditions ranging from Diabetes to Cystic Fibrosis and Renal disease. Interns will have exposure to the outpatient dialysis unit and practice calculating enteral and parenteral nutrition support while creating nutrition care plans for patients on these units.

Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant Service, and Surgery/Oncology and general medicine unit including step-down  - (2 weeks) –
Interns will learn the nutritional care of patients with cancer, those receiving blood and marrow transplants, orthopedic surgery needs and have exposure to a variety of other cancer treatments and research.

Cardiology - (2 weeks) –
Interns will learn the nutritional care of cardiology patients including those on the floor and in the Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU). Interns will have experience in counseling, education and also nutrition support in the ICU units.

NICU - (1 week) –
Interns will be able to participate in the nutritional care of newborn infants born with medical and surgical problems in our 42 bed Level III unit. Many of their problems place them at nutritional risk resulting in complicated nutritional management. Interns will round with the healthcare team daily and learn to calculate neonatal formulas along with enteral and parenteral nutrition support. This is a unique learning experience and will provide the intern with opportunities to learn about multiple neonatal medical conditions and work with nurse practitioners.

Pediatrics/Obstetrics - (2 weeks) –
Interns will work with the RD/LD in our Level 2 pediatric trauma center and gain experience with infants, children, and adolescents. The experience includes calculating infant formulas, plotting growth charts, learning basic physical assessment, and calculating enteral and parenteral nutrition support. Interns also work with patients in our Maternal Infant Care Center.

PICU - (2 weeks) –
Interns will spend 2 weeks with the RD/LD in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  Interns will round daily and learn how to care for higher acuity pediatric patients most of which are on enteral or parenteral nutrition support.

Surgery - (2 weeks) –
The interns rotate on the surgical floor and also in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. They round with the RD/LD and healthcare team daily with the goal of mastering the nutrition support and care of the critically ill population. Interns are also taught how to complete comprehensive nutrition interventions including how to interpret metabolic cart results, calculate enteral/parenteral nutrition support, calculate the osmotic load of parenteral nutrition and how to monitor and adjust electrolytes.

Critical Care - (2 weeks) –
Interns spend time in the Medical Intensive Care Unit rounding with the healthcare team and calculating enteral and parenteral nutrition support of high-risk patients. The intern will review and interpret current research regarding the application and implementation of nutrition support in the ICU.

Clinical Staff Relief - (2 weeks) –
Once all of the clinical rotations are completed successfully, interns are provided with an opportunity to perform autonomously as a clinical staff dietitian including carrying the beeper, rounding with the healthcare team and being “on-call” one weekend. The intern is expected to use time management and problem solving skills developed during previous clinical rotations to complete nutritional care plans on patients and demonstrate competence as an entry-level dietitian. Interns are given a choice of the area of interest within our facility excluding ICU’s and their work is monitored by the Dietetic Internship Director.

Trauma, Medicine, Medicine Step-down- (2 weeks)
Interns will learn round with the Trauma team and learn the unique nutritional needs of the Trauma service patients and in addition those of the general medicine and medicine step-down patients.  Interns may also work with patients in the post-anesthesia recovery area.

Mountainview Regional Rehabilitation Hospital - (1 week) –
This facility provides interns experience in the continuum of care from acute care to rehabilitation. The interns will work as part of the multidisciplinary team providing appropriate nutritional care including calorie counts, supplementation, modified diets, and enteral/parenteral nutrition.