More than a decade ago, I was obsessed with a desire to research healthy eating and discover as many interesting aspects as possible in order to help people succeed in nutrition. There are so many obese or overweight people proving that there is still a serious gap in nutrition knowledge. In several months of academic research, my obsessions turned into my clearly explained passion. I established several professional and personal goals and was able to achieve them. Today, I have a ten-year-old experience in community and clinical nutrition and an advanced degree in nutrition. I have gathered enough knowledge and experience in healthy eating, and now my goal is to share all this information with other people.
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My teaching involves instructing dietetic students in the main aspects of clinical nutrition, including nutrition support and clinical care process, the connection between physicians, nurses, and patients when they have to share their experiences and knowledge about diets and different clinical processes, and the approaches which are effective in promoting healthy eating and nutrition diagnoses. I believe that any learning process should be informative, interesting, and fun. When students are involved in all classroom discussions and activities, they understand what they want to do and what they have to be ready for. Such positive attitudes to learning can be used to develop strong communication skills. In teaching nutrition, it is necessary to comprehend that theory is not enough. Though theory plays an important in education and includes updates on nutrition recommendations and importance of nutrition diagnosis, I believe that students should demonstrate their own understanding of an issue and develop their personal attitudes to the chosen topic.
The peculiar feature of clinical nutrition is that it is not only connected with healthy eating and dietary changes. It involves the discussions of such concepts as food budgeting, psychological challenges, cultural aspects, personal values, and behavioral barriers. Clinical nutrition aims at adjusting and balancing different care processes, and the recognition of basics in such disciplines as gastroenterology, nephrology, dietetics, and critical care. I understand that dietary students, as well as their teachers, should be able to cover all these aspects, find out new approaches to share information, and combine their personal and professional goals in order to become experts in nutrition and understand the basics of this discipline.
My philosophy is the creation of a safe and interesting environment for students to teach them how to promote healthy eating, explain the importance of diets, and think critically about each diagnosis made and treatment suggested. I find it an obligatory task for every teacher to support students and give them enough time to understand what they can and have to do. Such qualities as critical thinking, confidence, open-mindedness, and cooperation have to be developed during the course in addition to knowledge about healthy eating. At the end of the course, students should be able to identify eating problems and disorders, make diagnoses, suggest treatments, and support patients. It does not matter if a current dietetic student is a future nurse or a physician, nutrition knowledge is important because it helps to understand patients and their possible problems and make a right decision on what kind of support is expected at the moment.
Teaching nutrition is teaching several disciplines at the same time. Some students may be challenged and confused by the necessity to participate in numerous activities. Still, there are many students who enjoy this possibility to research food and nutrition, develop all professional skills, and be ready personally to cooperate with patients and colleagues. I want to believe that my lessons can help people recognize their professional needs and solve their personal health problems.