Nutrition is a broad topic. Learning the details of every diet is neither functional nor essential for the nursing professional. It is important, however, to have a basic working knowledge of common diets. A nursing professional has the most continuous contact with a patient during the hospital stay, and therefore is likely to have to field diet questions.

The diets and diagnoses with a nutritional impact presented in this learning module are frequently prescribed for the hospitalized patient. The information is not exhaustive and does not include all aspects and information about the diets. However, the focus is on information that is basic, user friendly, and easy to retain, thus the classification of survival skills. Authorities such as the American Dietetic Association are using the term "survival skills” as observed in the Online Nutrition Care Manual (Nutrition care manual, n.d.). Their system gives the educator the option of providing limited (usually appropriate to the hospitalized patient) or detailed (usually appropriate to the clinic/outpatient or patient with prior education) information.

The diet education goal for the patient discharging from the hospital is to provide immediately useful, small pieces of knowledge the patient can put to use upon going home. When you provide this, you provide survival skills until the patient is physically and mentally ready to take his or her diet knowledge to the next level.

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