- Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I'm the clinical manager of the Metabolic Support Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Our service is comprised of four surgeons, three physician assistants, a medical assistant, a part-time dietitian, two administrative assistants, and me! Our surgeons and physicians focus much of their time on parenteral (venous) access and enteral access procedures; three of our four surgeons also act as inpatient nutrition support attending physicians who round with the inpatient dietitians. Two of those surgeons work with me and our part-time dietitian to manage home parenteral nutrition patients. My job is to organize our service, keep things running smoothly, do all of our quality improvement activities, do some research, provide patient care, and teach the trainees who come through our service.
- What drew you to the field of nutrition? I initially thought I wanted to go to medical school, but I realized that I wanted to get out into the workforce fairly quickly! I always loved food and cooking, so I thought I might be a chef. It seems that my many food allergies would be a barrier to being a good chef, so I had to come up with another option. My initial major when I started in undergrad was "Chemistry, Foods, and Nutrition" but I soon realized that being a registered dietitian would be an excellent career path so I changed my major to Nutritional Sciences and the rest is history, as the old saying goes.
- How did you discover that clinical nutrition was your calling? I was pretty surprised that clinical nutrition turned out to be my passion. Given my initial interest in being a chef, I really thought that I'd end up doing hospital food service management. My internship at Massachusetts General Hospital was excellent preparation in that area! However, once I started clinical rotations, I realized that I liked that aspect best (I guess going back to my initial interest in medical school). Once I did my intensive care unit rotation with all of those tube feeding and TPN calculations, I absolutely loved it and I knew I wanted to specialize in nutrition support.
- What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? I think the best part for me is seeing patients respond well to a nutrition plan--it's really rewarding to hear from a patient "wow, I can walk up the stairs to my bedroom without taking a break." Or, " since I started the TPN, I have more energy to do the things I like to do."
- How rewarding do you find your job? I find nutrition support incredibly rewarding--it requires a team approach to manage such complex patients
- What's the most frustrating part of your job? Trying to get home nutrition support therapy covered by insurance companies; it can be quite a challenge at times to get coverage for a much-needed therapy.
- I personally think you are an excellent professor. Is teaching something you anticipated doing in your career, and how do you like that aspect of nutrition?>> Wow, I'm glad you like my class!! I love teaching, and I always enjoyed working with dietetic interns. I had the opportunity to work with medical students at Tufts and Harvard, so I knew I liked the classroom experience and decided that if the opportunity presented itself, I would like to teach nutrition students. I feel very fortunate that Dr. Durschlag gave me the opportunity to teach at BU!
- Have you had some favorite jobs? I would say that my most favorite job was as the surgical intensive care unit dietitian at New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center). I was really part of the patient-care team and had many excellent mentors there. I wouldn't be where I am today without that experience. Communicate with confidence! Know literature well and be confident that you are the nutrition expert.
- What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? Exercise! Not just cardio, but strength training as well. Dr. Miriam Nelson's research is very compelling in this area.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Clinical Dietitian Kris Mogensen
Kris Mogensen with you. Even though she has a very full schedule she set aside time to answer my questions thoroughly both via email and before our lovely MNT class in the evening: