NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Gathered in an intensive care unit in Stephen F. Austin State University’s DeWitt School of Nursing, Justin Pelham, clinical instructor in the School of Human Sciences, explained medical equipment to a group of senior nutrition and dietetics students as part of a nutrition simulation.

After graduation, seniors in SFA’s food, nutrition and dietetics program begin serving the East Texas community and beyond through dietetic internships. Pelham said this simulation helped students in his medical nutrition therapy II course gain better insight into what they may encounter as dietetic interns.

Tube feedings, parenteral nutrition, various respiratory masks, dialysis and more were discussed as a mannequin lay on the hospital bed simulating a real patient with respiratory issues.

“The objective was providing real-word application and learning in the ICU setting before their dietetic internships,” Pelham said. “Through our discussion and case study, students had to think critically and quickly, like they would as registered dietitians.”

After the group discussion, students completed a case study regarding different disease states they had studied prior to the simulation. Students determined their patients' total caloric, protein and fluid needs based on the information provided through various calculations and prediction equations.

For more information on SFA’s food, nutrition and dietetics program, visit