Home for the weekend: I was talking to a friend earlier, who likened my experience to being at boarding school. Luckily, I'm as happy in GNT as I am at home, which makes an enormous difference - I don't dread the thought of returning on Sunday night at all. In fact, next weekend I'm planning to stay in GNT and do some sightseeing, since Mr A will be away.
So, the second half of last week included attending the GNT Farmers' Market, a coeliac clinic, a departmental meeting lasting a whole day, a GP clinic, and the regular Friday afternoon Reflection session. I did two follow up coeliac consultations, so now I feel much more confident about my own abilities. The supervising dietitians have all been supportive and encouraging, so that's good too.
Attending the Farmers' Market is an interesting idea, intended to promote healthy eating and the weight management interventions offered by the department. There are really very few stalls in the Farmers' Market, but once a month we have two Food Educators (a grade below Dietitians) who offer samples of food, recipes to take away, and try to encourage people to sign up to a group or individual course of weight management.
It was absolutely freezing, but I kept moving in order to keep warm. There was soup and two types of cake on offer to start with - one cake baked without any added fat, to demonstrate how it could be done. A bit later we cooked a stir fry and a corned beef hash, and encouraged people to taste all the samples and take away copies of the recipes. It was very popular, not least because of the free food, and a large number of those dropping by were previous participants in the weight management courses, wanting to pick up new recipes and chat. I wondered about the cost effectiveness of the time, ingredients and equipment, but the stall is paid for by the body that commissions and pays for services, and this monthly event is part of the Dietetic department's contract for weight management services in the town.
The coeliac clinic was much like ones I'd seen previously, but with more time: a whole hour for new patients, and 30 minutes for a follow up appointment. With the long-term coeliac patients being much more experienced than me, it wasn't hard to carry out a follow-up consultation. They knew what they were doing, and there wouldn't have been much that could be done if they were aware of the risks but chose not to follow a gluten-free diet.
The departmental meeting was interesting in parts, including a good description of all our weight management options including surgery, and some statistics on outcomes. There was also a session on Information Governance, reinforcing the message that I will be in deep trouble if I write anything here about any real patients. There was early warning of severe financial restrictions, including the possibility of redundancies, and vocational matters were covered in sessions about Job Plans (the totally unrealistic ratio expected between clinical and non-clinical work) and Practice Supervision. It was a long day, in a week of five long days.
The GP clinic was the first I had seen since A placement nearly three years ago, so the dietitian kindly let me observe this time, ready to have a go next time - as my timetable stands, I'll be coming to this clinic each week, with the aim of running it myself by the end of the placement. In fact, all the conditions presenting were those I hadn't done before and am a bit shaky on - high cholesterol/heart health and obesity/weight reduction. It's not that difficult, just unfamiliar, so I'll be taking one or two consultations next week, and will have to get busy collecting all the relevant leaflets so I'm ready to go.