The Life of a Dietetic Intern: Clinicals Week 2

Another week in paradise! If you’re an RD2Be and terrified of the internship, please don’t be – it’s exciting and you learn so many new skills. As you’ll hear one million more times from everyone who’s been through the internship, just keep an open mind and be flexible!

Week 2 of my clinical rotations started with this beautiful sunset! This week went by so fast (they said it would fly by, and it is!), but overall it was great. I saw so many different kinds of patients with lots of different conditions – diverticulosis, heart disease, renal disease, Crohn’s, and of course countless inadequate oral intake patients. One thing that’s really nice about this hospital (and I’m assuming most others) is that the electronic medical records have a template all set up for the dietitians that calculates BMI, prefills their anthropometrics, and gives you a list of diagnoses. This makes everything go so much faster when I’m typing up records.

As I’m typing up my records, I write down an identical copy in a notebook (I de-identify the patient, of course). This way I have a record of everyone I’ve seen, the language I used on different diagnoses and interventions, and a reference for how to treat common conditions.

I know bringing all of my books to my rotation might make me “look like a loser”, but the one day I didn’t bring books I realized how much I still need them. Also I really don’t care if I look like a loser anyway =P I don’t bring Krause everyday unless I think I’ll be working on my modules (I have a clinical nutrition pocket guide I bring instead most days). I rely heavily on the Food/Medication Interactions book and the Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference book. The medical abbreviation book is also super helpful, but it’s almost too outdated to be relevant.

This was possibly the weirdest sign I’ve seen in a bathroom – WHY would anyone put their hand in the toilet? Well, I can tell you why, because immediately after laughing at this sign my favorite highlighter fell in the toilet.

I take a lot of bathroom breaks during the day – it gives me a chance to close my eyes and do a mini meditation, plus it’s a good opportunity to get up from my desk and stretch my legs. Clinical nutrition is a lot of sitting (reviewing and writing notes) and a lot of standing (rounds), so I try to create moments of movement throughout the day.

This week one of my biggest fears came true – I got stuck in an elevator! Luckily there was a doctor in there with me so I at least pretended not to panic. Fortunately we were only stuck for a minute tops before the elevator let us back out on the same floor. I was late to rounds (still got there before we started though) but at least I made it alive!

One thing I was surprised by this week is how many patients are in the hospital waiting to be transferred to an inpatient psychiatric facility. I’m really sensitive to other people’s emotions, so I made sure to do extra mental preparation before heading up to see these patients. I’ve found that a lot of these patients just need a compassionate ear, so I spent a little extra time in these rooms when I was ale to. When I take the time to really listen to people and show that I care, they’re much more willing to answer my annoying questions about appetite and PO intake =)

And just like that, I was on the couch enjoying my sweet, sweet Friday evening. Even though I love clinical nutrition so far and could see myself working in a hospital one day, I also began to remember why I love working for myself this week. I’m a great employee, but I crave the freedom and independence of self-employment. I got really motivated to continue dedicating time to my podcast, create this new website, and writing new articles on my main website. I want to do everything I can to build a solid foundation for a private practice while I’m within the safety of my internship, so that if I do decide I want to jump right into it after I get my credentials, I can!

Lessons learned this week:

  • Don’t forget about your end goals. Soak up all the experiences you can, but if you have a passion, keep working on that too.
  • Be a “go-getter”. Take initiative and get things done in a timely manner.
  • WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. I sat next to a very experienced RD one day this past week who kept leaning over to drop major knowledge bombs. I wrote down everything she said because my brain is full of too much right now to remember, well, anything.
  • Take the weekends off – well, as much as you can. I have decided to spend Saturday on my modules and personal projects, but Sunday is all for self-care.

Until next week!

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