News & Press: Membership News

Mentor-Mentee Campaign

Thursday, October 15, 2020  
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This year, as we look forward to the WAND student conference, we would like to feature a preceptor-student relationship, and the many advantages these relationships bring. Last fall, Adrian LeQue MS, RD, CSG, LD, FAND was a preceptor for Natalie Schmit for her clinical rotation in MNT. Natalie was starting her senior year in Viterbo’s coordinated program. She is now a newly credentialed RDN. Natalie spent every Tuesday and Wednesday at Samaritan Bethany with Adrian for five weeks and developed a bond that continues to this day. We asked them questions about their experiences as a preceptor and a student.

What part of your rotation did you enjoy the most?

I loved all the patient interaction I got during my time at Samaritan Bethany. In the beginning of my I loved all the patient interaction I got during my time at Samaritan Bethany. In the beginning of my rotation, I mainly just accompanied my preceptor to get a feel for how she interacted with the patients and what exact questions I should be asking. After a few weeks of observing, my preceptor let me lead some patient assessments to determine their nutritional needs. This was a bit intimidating at first, but my preceptor coached me along the way and gave me some helpful tips to use. This experience was very valuable and is something I will never forget.

Do you feel the knowledge you gained helped solidify the things you learned in the classroom?
Yes! This was one of my biggest takeaways from my time at Samaritan Bethany. I was able to apply so much of my knowledge from various classes to real patient scenarios. This allowed me to build my critical thinking skills and think through the whole treatment process of how to best care for the patient. If there was a case that I was unsure of, my preceptor was right there to guide me through the thinking process and help me determine what would be best for the patient’s needs. Having these skills will benefit me immensely in my career.

What did you do to prepare for the rotation?
I was given a schedule prior to my rotation, so I looked this over to determine what I would be doing and if there was anything I was unfamiliar with. I also made sure to bring my pocket guidebooks with me each day so I could calculate certain patient needs. Other than these two things, I made sure to be attentive and ask as many questions as I could. This allowed me to maximize my learning and truly get the best experience possible from Samaritan Bethany.

What happened after the rotation? Where are you now?
After my time at Samaritan Bethany, I completed my two final rotations to end my undergraduate career. My community rotation was at a private practice in San Antonio, TX and my clinical rotation was at a community clinic in Phoenix, AZ. I then graduated from Viterbo University in May, and started my master’s degree in nutritional sciences  through Viterbo in June. My journey as a dietitian will be starting in the beginning of October as I have recently accepted a position as a clinical dietitian at MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center in Dubuque, IA. I am so excited to put the skills I have learned from my time at Samaritan Bethany to the test and help individuals achieve their best possible health. 


What do you enjoy the most about hosting students?

 I love that the students bring fresh knowledge. They hear about the newest things in nutrition that we did not learn in school. For example, many of us that have been practicing for some time did not learn about NFPE or the NCP when we were in school. I am able to pass on the practical knowledge I have to bring them up in the profession. It is mutually beneficial to both of us.

What do you do to prepare for the rotation?     

I create a schedule for each day so I make sure to touch on the different areas of nutrition in the LTC setting. This way I can also be sure to have webinars and meetings already noted and planned. It is not set in stone, but it is nice to know where we are at in the rotation.


What are some of the things you do with students during rotations?

We complete chart reviews and assessments, interview residents, case studies, kitchen audits, have discussions on the different disease processes and how we handle them in this setting, and then we have some fun. I have had interns do things like participate in a “snowball fight” with the residents with giant marshmallows, help serve at a carnival, be part of our “Winter Blues” party, and attend our staff Christmas party.

Are there any tips you would give RDN’s regarding hosting students?

I would suggest planning things out so you make sure to meet the competencies laid out in the program. I also have an “intern manual” with frequently used information that I put together for them that includes things about where we work, policies, the menus, our resumes, interview questions, etc. I would also tell other RDN’s that it is a great way to help your profession that anyone can do.