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This is National Nutrition Month and March 8 is Registered Dietitian Day. Katelyn Jensen talks about her role at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
By IU Health Senior Journalist, TJ Banes, firstname.lastname@example.org
She always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. It wasn’t until she started taking classes at Miami of Ohio University, that Katelyn Jensen turned her focus to an area that emphasizes food and nutrition.
“It’s a multi-faceted field. I can work with patients and I get to do something that is mentally challenging,” said Jensen. She completed both her undergraduate degree and dietitian internship with a master’s degree. Jensen started her career with IU Health three years ago.
At Methodist Hospital she works with some of the most vulnerable patients in cardiac medical critical care. She also has special training in placement of nasal feeding tubes.
“This is a task that is within the scope of a dietitian but not generally done due to staffing and ability to be at the bedside,” said Maria Browning, manager of clinical dietetics. “Katelyn has supported this initiative not only on her unit, but also other units. Most notably, she was able to place a feeding tube for a disordered eating patient on our behavioral health unit.” The patient was severely malnourished and needed the support of a feeding tube.”
Jensen said one of the best parts of her job is working with her team.
“I have a great team of doctors and they really listen to the dietitians. Most of the patients on our unit have experienced cardiac arrest and chronic illness. Most are intubated and sedated and on a day to day basis I attend interdisciplinary team huddles to discuss what is best for our patients,” said Jensen.
She has many patients that standout but one in particular who had an external heart device. “He came in and was intubated and sedated and I worked with him through acute critical care and helped optimize his nutrition for the procedure. Afterward, I got to watch him recover and even get married in the hospital,” she said.
“Almost daily I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be as a dietitian. I know that by providing proper nutrition, I’m impacting patients every day.”
Jensen is engaged to be married in June. In her spare time she enjoys playing pickle ball, working out and walking her dog. She also teaches classes at IUPUI.