Essentials: A Clinical Resource for the 21st Century

I think every Dietetic student undergoing clinical placement will undertand the struggle of creating a personal clinical resource, realising just how much information there is, and proceeding to carry your five kilos of printed documents around a hospital for eight hours a day. If you're not quite there yet - a personal clinical resource is essentially your dietetics bible for the duration of placement (and something you will continue to develop over the course of your career). It contains an accumulation of resources that will assist you in treating patients on a daily basis with the ultimate goal of increasing practice efficiency and reducing time spent researching various conditions, medications and modes of treatment; after all, you'll no doubt hear many times as a student "you don't have to know all the information, you just need to know where to find it".

A resource can contain a number of things: calculations for estimating energy, protein and fluid requirements, composition tables for common foods, oral supplements and enteral/parenteral feeds, education materials, and summaries of evidence-based guidelines for the nutritional management of a range of clinical conditions you are likely to come across depending on your case load (what area you work in e.g. renal ward).

See, I'm one of those 'need to know everything before I start' kind of people which ultimately meant that my clinical resource was HEAVY. Not only was it heavy but it seemed like such a huge waste of paper. Multiply that amount by all the dietetics students and you have a whole lot of paper that eventually ends up in the bin.

In saying this, I sought to find a solution that was not only environmentally friendly, but that allowed me to access a large amount of information in a short time, and have it presented in a way that was simple and effective for it's intended purpose.

Insert Google Sites - my holy grail resource. Now Google has a whole host of interesting online applications that I never knew existed - but their Sites app is the perfect tool for developing an online clinical resource that you can access from anywhere in the world. What is does is provide you with a user friendly way of creating a private website with simple menus. Their settings allow you to set this site to public (anyone on the internet), private (only you) or send to others (for them to view or edit) which, as far as I know, is unique to this app.

This quick demo (left) shows you what the basic layout can look like - in preview mode here you can see the site is formatted into the most used information up top (energy requirements, biochemistry and anthropometry calculations), clinical conditions second (organised by area of practice), and other useful information at the bottom (important cultural considerations in practice, food knowledge etc.). Note that your site will also have a search bar in the top right to make things even more straightforward. Using Sites comes with tutorials and guides to make everything look just how you want. However, if you like this template, let me know in the contact box on the student page so I can make it available here (note that as a clinical resource is tailored to your needs, it is better done as a personal task. Hence I will share the template itself but what information you put in there is up to you).

If you want to go your own way from the start, check out the video (below) for a very basic 'getting started' with Google Sites (entering text, formatting headings, adding pages and sharing your site). If you're having trouble, take advantage of those tutorials in the help section of Sites, or try troubleshooting with youtube.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for going (mostly) paper free and saving your arms the struggle during clinical placement. Make sure wherever you go that your hospital policy allow you to use either a phone or tablet on the wards, otherwise you can gain access from any computer.


Julia Bazan Food & Nutrition

P: 0400 267 134


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