a LaFrance Consulting Services™ e-Course
Nutrition for Nursing Students, independent study


Before we begin, you need to know the real basic food groups (“real” refers to my own world, and it is common knowledge among my children and grandchildren that I am weird) are:
    Peanut Butter,
    Cookies, and

    You should also know that I have been “underweight” (within normal range) my entire life, so few people want to know my advice on weight management [read weight loss], even with my ability to maintain a stable, slightly below average weight for my entire adult life. At a health screening at a technical college where I taught preNursing classes, the doctor reviewing the results for me stated, “You're disgustingly healthy for a man your age” [at that time I was in my late fifties], because I scored 98 on a scale of 1 to 100. It was a medical doctor discussing the results of medical [wellness] testing, so I take it to be a ‘diagnosis’ that I am disgustingly healthy. When I took the “RealAge Test” [RealAge®] I scored − 6 years compared to my calendar age [at the time, mid 60's]. My advice on wellness, based on multiple degrees in Biology [BA, Botany, Zoology & French, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS; MA, Botany, Columbia University, New York NY; PhD, Biology (Ecology), University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN] and personal experience, may be considered to be sound.

    Throughout these lectures, Anything in this font style is jargon and will be followed by the definition of the word as I am using it.

the Course

If you wish to succeed in this course, it is important to follow the directions! You are expected first to read the lecture; then to take the quiz using the text and other references (either in print or on the web) to prepare your answer [cite references other than the lecture]. If you are unclear about what the question is, after trying to decipher it on your own, ASK by e-mail to the professor. It has been documented, and statistically confirmed, that there is a direct correlation between the effort you put into the course work and the amount you can expect to Learn [& therefore your grade, and I suspect that I don't have to explain what I mean by ‘your grade,’ except that in the test population for the statistical confirmation of the conclusion that effort causes grades, the grade distribution on the final paper was 74% B- or better; no C+; only 2% C; no D; and 24% F]. This is what is meant by “independent study” at the College level. If this sounds like a lot of work, you understand correctly; if it sounds like more work than you are willing to put in, contact the Registrar about changing to an in-class section of the course. I do NOT wish to scare you off; those students who have ‘stuck it out,’ report that they "learned more from this course than any other on-line course [they] have taken!"

    The premise of this course is that Health Care practitioners ought to be engaged in promoting wellness, and that proper nutrition contributes to wellness. My definition of “wellness” is that it leads to a longer life expectancy with high quality life throughout the patient's life span. A more common definition involves concepts such as “absence of illness.” Understand, I have no objection to the absence of illness. As an aside, life expectancy is defined as the age at which 50% of an even-aged population will die; while life span is the maximum age which Humans can reach at death [probably set at least in part by genetics]. Currently the maximum recorded [Guiness Book of Records] life span is 122 years and a few months, set by a French woman who smoked for only 98 years [age 14 to 112], and who is the poster child for the French Paradox: the French are well known for their bad habits, yet tend to avoid cardiovascular disease. Another group famous for avoiding cardiovascular disease are Orientals who have few bad habits, and who eat undercooked vegetables. You will hear more about these groups later.
    The medical profession is just beginning to realize that it is possible to make money on wellness. Dentistry figured this out many years ago: rather than waiting for patients to develop caries, you expect them to come in every 6 months to visit the Hygienist. Best practices for treating wellness suggest that patients ought to have semi-annual wellness check-ups, complete with appropriate lab work. Professors who teach Nutrition classes dream that wellness check-ups would be an excellent opportunity for nursing education concerning nutrition. The role of nutrition and other life style choices will be a recurrent theme through these “lectures.”
    We shall review enough A & P to understand the Biology of nutrition. As we cover the various classes of nutrients, you will gain knowledge which will assist you in your analysis of an actual patient's diet for the final exam. Obviously, if you are going to analyze a patient's diet, you will need data concerning the patient's diet. Here we are using diet in the sense of a record of what the patient ate during some past time interval. You will collect total food intake data for seven (7) consecutive days, although the software I asked you to buy defaults to 3 days. Over short periods (such as 1 to 3 days) the patient will pretend that your advice is not to be taken seriously, because “that's not what they normally eat.” Over a longer time frame (such as 7 days), the patient cannot pretend that this is not what they normally do. Also, if you would consider asking a patient to track their food intake [say for weight management], you need to know first hand just how annoying that becomes after a few days; and why patients in weight management programs that require accounting for food consumption over months to years tend to lie, then fabricate their accounts, and finally stop showing up!

    You will have 25 daily “quizzes” (typically two per week). The quizzes are designed to provide the students with opportunities to learn and to apply Liberal Arts college skills such as Critical Thinking and application of knowledge to “new” situations [translated to English this means that the answers are often (or usually) not in the lectures nor the text]. Other quizzes will be assignments which will give you hands-on experience with the lecture topic (in education terms this is called the discovery method wherein the students discover the answer for themselves; and underlying approach to learning/teaching is called the Constructivist method). Either way they will count as quizzes for grading purposes. The quizzes are in webpage format, so you will not be able to answer the questions on-line. You will have to retype the question on your reply, answer it and then e-mail your answers to [professor@twooldguys.com] as an attachment. For the more computer literate among you, you can highlight the question, press Ctrl-c to copy it, then move to your Word document and press Ctrl-v to paste it into your document. If you don't have Microsoft Office on your computer, and don't want to buy it, you can download a free word processor, spreadsheet (and other Office-like programs) from Open Office [this is the suite of ‘office’ programs I use]. You may find my quiz questions to be confusing at times; this is intentional because one of the first steps in answering a question using Critical Thinking (a skill generally accepted as important in a Liberal Arts education), is to determine “what” the question is. In an interview of Albert Einstein, genius, the interviewer asked, “How can you come up with answers to such difficult questions?" Einstein is said to have replied, “I don't. I find simpler questions.” If you still don't know what the question asks, you can always ask me what I think I want as an answer, and I will try to guide you toward the answer.
    The twice weekly “lectures” are webpages of text written in my lecture sytle. It was my intent in writing the lectures as I did to give you the feel of attending an actual lecture, but without the exchange of student comments and questions. I am looking into the technology needed to provide the interactive aspect of the lecture, but have not yet implemented that feature on my website. You may, of course, e-mail any questions to me [professor@twooldguys.com] at any time during the course. My answer to any questions which I believe are of general interest to the class will be sent to the entire class, while those I beieve to be ‘private’ will go only to the person asking the question (because the reply will disclose the name, & email address of the person asking the question. You will find my lectures to “stray” onto tangents, seemingly unrelated to the subject; this is part of the Constructivist approach to education. Applying Piaget's Theory of How Humans Acquire knowledge requires the instructor to cause just enough confusion in the students to motivate them to learn the material (into Long-Term memory); if the students are not confused, they will (according to Piaget)erroneously conclude that they already “know” the material and will not invest the intellectual effort necessary to learn it [More Liberal Arts curriculum basics]. In memory-courses, students hold knowledge in Short-Term memory until they need it (for the tests), then promptly discard it from memory. My course is designed to move the knowledge into long-term memory (more often than not, without the students realizing that they “learned!”

The required text, Brown's Nutrition Now, is intended as your primary source of knowledge, while the lectures are intended to assist you in identifying what to concentrate on while reading. The suggested texts, Roizen & Oz's books can provide a very readable discussion of wellness issues and strategies for the general population [You, the owner's manual]; for the adult population with weight issues [You, on a diet]; and for the older adults concerned with quality of life in their senior years [You, staying young]. I suggest that you use the text which best covers the population you hope to treat when (not “if”) you complete your Nursing degree and Board exam [but remember that even fetuses and new born children are Humans with nutritional needs].

Course Syllabus


See QUIZ 1 [week 1 day 2] for details.
Select a patient... (patient confidentiality requires that you do not disclose the patient's identity to me)

Obviously, it will take 7 days to collect 7 days worth of data. Therefore, this assignment will not be due until week 3.

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revised: 15 May 2010