Dynamic Dietitians, Professional Development, Staffing Tips for Success | Jan 19 2018

Dynamic Nutrition Support Dietitian: Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC

Sara Glanz with Cortrak machine

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The motivation may be a little different for everyone, but for Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, becoming a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician was initially a gateway to writing TPN orders. However, when Sara started digging into the material, she discovered it was about a whole lot more than just writing TPN orders.

“It really made me a better clinical dietitian” Sara said of completing the coursework and CNSC exam. “It made me a better detective, made me think more critically about why lab values come up certain ways and think through different medication interactions.”

When it comes to nutrition support, registered dietitians are the most qualified professionals to manage it, Sara said. “They know how to write the orders, manage the patient and troubleshoot when things go wrong.”

“With the CNSC, we often get to be in the driver’s seat instead of in the wings,” Sara added. “You can be so much more involved with the patient.”

Ask any dietitian in any setting what their motivation is, and helping people will almost always be the answer. For a CNSC, their main goal goes a step beyond help and actually focuses on patient safety as their priority.

“With nutrition support and TPN, you’re getting into therapies that could potentially cause harm to the patient if it’s not managed correctly,” Sara said.

But when it is managed correctly, there’s lots of room for customization, getting a patient exactly what they need.

Getting that “boost”

Registered dietitians can write tube feeding and TPN orders with or without the CNSC credential, and even having it doesn’t guarantee order writing privileges. But what the credential can always bring to the dietitian holding it is a higher level of expertise.

“I do feel like I have an extra boost,” Sara said.

And with that boost comes the confidence to tackle tasks she may have shied away from without the extra training.

About two-and-a-half years ago an opportunity presented itself for Sara to use a Cortrak. She not only saved time and money for the patient and the hospital by using this machine, she got to do something really cool.

If you’re not familiar with a Cortrak, it’s a machine with a screen that helps the dietitian navigate the path and placement of a small bowel feeding tube at the bedside.

“It was freaky the first time I did it!” Sara said, because the dietitian is the only one in the room and has full control of where the tube is going. This type of tube placement can also be done by a nursing-radiology team, but because Sara was confident in navigating the tube’s path, the patient didn’t have to wait for the two departments to coordinate. What could have taken more than a day was completed within hours.

“It’s a lot faster and cheaper for the dietitian to do it,” Sara said.

To CNSC, or not to CNSC

So, does Sara’s story have you considering pursing the CNSC certification? Sara’s advice is “Go for it! A lot of jobs aren’t looking for an entry-level dietitian; they want someone with a certification or some additional skills.”

And as Sara learned, the credential may not grant you automatic order writing privileges, but it could very well give you the confidence you need to get those privileges implemented!

If you’re still not sure, Sara said one other perk of passing the CNSC exam is that it took care of her CEUs for five years!

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