Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA students gain nutrition-counseling experience through simulation

October 26, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Alexis Malquist, a Stephen F. Austin State University senior dietetics major from Grapevine, participates in a class project at SFA's DeWitt School of Nursing's Ed and Gwen Cole Simulation Lab. Malquist is using the skills she learned in her nutrition-counseling course to counsel her "patient," a mannequin named Miss Hernandez.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - As Alexis Malquist, a Stephen F. Austin State University senior dietetics major from Grapevine, enters the mock hospital room in the DeWitt School of Nursing's Ed and Gwen Cole Simulation Lab, she begins treating her "patient," a mannequin named Miss Hernandez.

"How are you feeling, Miss Hernandez?" Malquist asks the high-fidelity mannequin that is serving as a hospital patient for a class project. In this scenario, Malquist must counsel Hernandez on weight management.

In a control room, Sarah Drake, clinical instructor in SFA's School of Human Sciences, gives a voice to the mannequin and begins testing Malquist. For the third time, Drake has partnered with the School of Nursing to offer students in her nutrition-counseling course a hands-on learning experience to test their counseling skills.

"This project is meant to simulate a typical session students would encounter in a hospital setting," Drake said. "Students are able to put into practice the concepts and techniques we discuss in class such as listening and communication skills."

Malquist said this project helped push her out of her comfort zone and learn how to apply her skills in a professional setting.

"It was interesting because we were not just reading from a textbook. I had to phrase statements in my head and make cohesive thoughts before talking to my patient," Malquist said. "This taught me how to use motivational interview techniques and how to counsel patients in a clinical setting."

Drake also required students to observe SFA's registered dietitian Jill Hamilton this semester as she provided recommendations and counseling services to clients.

"This interaction with a professional in the field helped students have a better understanding of a registered dietitian's role and how to act in a counseling session," Drake said.

To learn more about SFA's food, nutrition and dietetics program, visit http://www.sfasu.edu/hms/101.asp.