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Q&A with Dietetic Intern: Patrick Gauthier


Name: Patrick Gauthier

Age: 23

Location: Horizon's Saint John Regional Hospital and Public Health

University: Université de Moncton

Graduation date: June 21, 2019

Length of internship: September 2018 to June 2019

Why did you choose to do your internship with Horizon? I chose to do my internship with Horizon because I am originally from Saint John. Horizon offers so many different health care services to help communities across the province. This gives me the opportunity to get exposure to a variety of different areas of dietetics. I'd like to eventually be a member of this organization to play a role in New Brunswick health care.

What's your dream job when you're finished school? I would really like to become a community dietitian to help promote nutrition and educate the public. I'm also very interested in becoming a pediatric dietitian to support children in developing healthy eating habits and healthy relationships around food when they're young.

Give us a glimpse into the daily life of a dietetic intern: In the beginning, a dietetic intern's role is to observe and learn from their mentors. As you gain more experience, you start taking on more responsibilities. For example, providing nutritional counselling to patients, collaborating with other team members and attending meetings. The great thing about being an intern is you get to get to learn from a lot of different mentors and health professionals. 

What has been the most eye-opening aspect of this internship? The thing that surprised me the most was the amount of people that really need dietitians. Food and nutrition is a part of everybody's life and there is so much misleading information out there. Dietitians are specialists in this field and can help people better understand what it really means to eat healthy.  

What has been the most rewarding part of this internship? The positive feedback you receive from patients after providing care is very rewarding. Being able to address someone's concerns, answer their questions and give them the tools to help them manage their health, makes me feel like becoming a registered dietitian is what I am supposed to do.   


What has been the best teaching moment? In every rotation I have done so far, my mentors found a way to show me or teach me that just because you have a plan all mapped out for an intervention, doesn't mean you are going to follow it. It's been really interesting to learn how to adjust to a patient's body language and or readiness to change.

What do you say to current students, on the fence about on-the-job training? If you have the choice to have some on-the-job training, I highly recommend you chose to apply. I was always told: "The best way to learn is to do it." Now that I am close to finishing my internship, I completely agree with this statement. It is also a really good way to experience your possible future career and the different paths you can take in your line of work.


Five tips for healthy snacks


Snacks are foods or drinks that are consumed between meals. When you're on-the-run during a busy day, think of snacks as mini-meals that offer some nutritional value and an energy boost. These are different than treats, such as cookies, chocolate and chips, which are not nourishing.

Here are five helpful snacking tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Keep a variety of healthy, ready-to-eat snacks on hand for when you get hungry. Being prepared helps you avoid less-healthy treats.
  2. Be aware of portion sizes. Instead of snacking from a large bag or box, take a portion and put it on a plate or bowl.
  3. Listen to your hunger cues. Ask yourself: am I truly hungry, or am I eating because I am bored, tired or stressed?
  4. Skip distracted snacking! Avoid munching while looking at a screen, driving or working. You may eat more than you need if you're distracted from your feeling of fullness.
  5. Snack on vegetables! About half of all Canadians don't eat enough vegetables or fruit. Snacking on them between meals is a great way to add more.
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