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Observation of a Health Educator, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 564

Essay

For this exercise, I visited SH at her office to observe her methods for instructing obese children regarding behavioral modifications. SH is a registered dietitian in Okmulgee County, OK, with a Bachelor’s Degree and a one-year internship from Michigan State University. She has been working in OK for the past five years. Patients are referred to SH by primary care providers, and she also works as a dietitian for a skilled nursing facility in the city on a regular basis.

Cindy Joice is a nine year-old female who was referred to the office for a consultation. Cindy’s heritage is American Indian. She and her grandmother complete the required forms at check in to provide basic information regarding her grade in school, diet, exercise, known diseases, and medications. Upon visiting the office, Cindy is weight and her BMI is calculated at 34, which is considered to be obese.

SH’s approach to counseling is to discuss options and concerns with patients in a non-confrontational manner, which is patient-centered and is aimed at increasing an individual’s level of motivation to make changes, using goal-directed behavior, competent self-care, and satisfying relationships with others. Her primary teaching objectives are health education, prevention, and health protection, all using evidence-based practice as a guide. SH uses a poster provided by the American Dietitic Association entitled “Dish up a Healthy Meal.” The poster provides a picture of a colorful plate of 9-10 inches, with non-starchy vegetables,  grains, beans, and starchy vegetables and meat. A bowl of fruit, a cup of fat free/lowfat milk, and added fats are shown on the poster. A bold font is used to describe a separate heading “How to use a plate to plan your meals.” In addition, the heading “My Goals” is also listed so that patients may write down their goals. On the back of the poster, the heading “Winning Choices” is listed, which provides a description of fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and added fat, and a space to add “My Choice” from the winning choices.

SH also uses a handout entitled “What does a serving look like?” which is written and copyrighted by the American Dietetic Association. She also refers to the “My Pyramid” tool, created by the US Department of Agriculture. SH uses a trans-theoretical model in her teacing, as she encourages patients to think about and write down their goals for each week, and to also write a contract to offer incentives. For example, Cindy was offered an incentive that if she lost four pounds in four weeks, her grandmother would take her out for ice cream. Generally, follow up visits take place one month later to evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching protocol  and to discuss barriers or other challenges. SH typically provides coupons for healthy eating choices to patients, such as fat free yogurt at the end of a meeting.

The manner in which SH provides her nutritional directives is engaging and enthusiastic, and it also supports her objectives to provide nutritional guidance to young people and adults who require this type of support because their knowledge is limited. In using different tools (ie. USDA – Choose my plate and Eat Right), SH provides her clients with the appropriate combination of tools that enable them to make smarter nutritional choices for their daily meals.

References

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2012). Eat right. Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/Public/

United States Department of Agriculture (2012). Choose my plate. Retrieved from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

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