Program receives grant to provide interns with iPod Touches

Carmen Leng

Students participating in the ISU Dietetic Internship have a new tool at their fingertips.

The ISU Dietetic Internship received a Center for Advanced Computer Studies grant, which allowed the program to provide iPod Touches to all 46 interns for a six-month, supervised practice experience.

The students are located in Iowa and across the nation.

“The DI has been currently investigating the use of mobile devices — an iPod Touch — to deliver course content and give more options for increased collaboration among interns and instructors,” said Janet Jackson, senior clinician in food science and human nutrition.

The iPod Touch devices provide a way for the instructors to keep in touch with their students across the nation. The students come to the ISU campus for a week in January and then head to their various locations for the remainder of the semester.

The devices are also learning tools for advanced research.

“Instead of carrying around three or four books, at just a fingertip they have access to lab values, references, medications and medical terminology,” said Laurie Kruzich, practicum placement program coordinator.

Applications within the iPod Touch include resources for drug and nutrient interactions and calculation of basic and nutritional support information.

“The internship is so busy already, by having the [iPod Touch] that is easily accessible, productivity is increased,” Michelle Russell, senior in dietetics and intern located in Marshalltown at the Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center.

The interns can access email, coordinate calendars and access virtual meetings with their devices. Interns are also asked to share reflections about their experiences with the device through micro blogs to build a community of practice in a distance internship.

The interns can also choose preferred style of learning by having podcasts available.

“Defiantly as a dietician intern, it is extremely useful in a hospital setting for quickly looking up information such as laboratory values or conditions we are unfamiliar with,” said Logan Baker, intern for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in Waterloo.

The interns also have the option of personalizing the device for their use by accessing iTunes and downloading their own applications to advance their education.

Baker’s favorite application is the Micromedex, which helps him research different types of medicines.

“It’s kind of a professional library, once you find an application you have to determine how reliable that app is,” Kruzich said.

To guide the interns on applications the coordinators have provided a rubric so they can evaluate application’s and podcast to find how authentic and dependable each one is.

“Interns have happily embraced this technology and their responses in the workplace from supervisors have been overall favorable because the intern can quickly access information during a consultation with patient or client,” Johnson said.