In reading a practice application from the current Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics August 2014, The Art and Science of Practice: The Intersection between Liberal Arts and Allied Health, I found myself inspired. The words within this article were an important reminder of the key to success as a health practitioner and nutrition educator: a combination of humanities and science. This article also pertains to future nutrition professionals such as your self!
This article displayed many excellent points of view and quotes that resonate. In the words of Hippocrates, "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has..." We are often put under much pressure to master the biological science aspect of dietetics, and lose sight of the essentiality of communication skills and myriad of factors that influence a persons health such as beliefs, culture and economic situations. We are also under much pressure from the educator side to meet accreditation guidelines for curriculum. These scholastic demands detract from us encouraging students to take classes outside of our normal scope of practice, e.g. women's studies, Latino culture or geography. Unfortunately, this may come as a fault, because part of the health equation may be lost.
An additional quote taken from this application paper, by surgeon Atul Gawande MD, MPH, FACS, struct a cord within me. "We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line. There is science in what we do, yes, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. And this gap complicates everything we do." The time we spend, outside our science minds, getting to know each other, reading literature, browsing the news and paying attention to local policy and legislation will increase our capabilities to reach the individuals we are striving to help.
I encourage you all to add a bit of 'humanities' to your day.
Reading suggestion: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.04.002
The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.