What You (Really) Need For Clinical Rotations

During my first 6 weeks of clinical rotations, I hauled a big bag full of books with me every day to the hospital. I may have looked like a total dork but guess what? If I didn’t know something, I was able to easily look it up! My motto is if I have a question, I try to find the answer – if I can’t find the answer, then I ask someone for help.

If you’re in your clinical rotations right now, are about to be, or are just looking for some good reference materials, look no further! Here are the supplies I actually used during my clinical rotations.


MUST HAVE: Okay, who’s surprised this is first on the list? Krause is “the nutrition bible”, and for good reason. If you managed to get through undergrad without picking one of these up, go ahead and order one now. While it isn’t completely exhaustive, Krause is great for reminding you about the pathophysiology of different disease states and how to address them nutritionally. Things will get pretty jumbled in your head during the internship and this book will make you go “Oh yeah! I remember what to do.”

I really like this book because it’s concise and has recommendations driven by new research. It’s made for people with an existing base of knowledge, so you won’t waste time flipping through pages of stuff you already know. It’s organized by disease state and has specific recommendations for anything you can imagine – this is definitely one of my favorites! It’s also about half the thickness of Krause and may be a better option to bring on the road with you.

I use this book as a backup – in the event that Krause doesn’t have what I’m looking for, this book usually does. This book also has a super useful appendix section and several example PES statements scattered throughout. Unfortunately this book is really expensive, so I’d only recommend snatching this one up if you know someone trying to get rid of it for cheap!

I don’t use this little book as often as I thought I would, but I like having it in my work bag to take to rotations with me. It’s like a mini Krause and has tons of helpful tables and charts for nutrient needs, common drugs, labs, and nutrition therapies. The only thing that drives me crazy about this book is the useless index – I’d suggest flipping through the book ahead of time and marking pages you think you’ll need, because I can’t always find what I’m looking for when I need it.

MUST HAVE: Mosby’s is a life saver for clinicals! It’s not written for dietitians so it doesn’t always have exactly what I’m looking for as far as nutrition implications of different labs, but it’s great for looking up reference ranges and explaining what each lab is for. It also contains diagnostics you may not have learned about in school like different kinds of imaging studies. Plus it’s pocket sized which is always a win for rotations!

MUST HAVE: I use this little reference book for one thing – the malnutrition tables. It has the ASPEN guidelines for malnutrition diagnosis, as well as some example PES statements and everything you need to know about fat and muscle loss with pictures. Plus this book takes up almost no room in my bag and it was like 20 bucks! I’d highly recommend picking it up and keeping it in your work bag.

MUST HAVE: Now before you click on the link for this book, be warned – it is crazy expensive on Amazon. I got an older edition on eBay for about $20, so start there! That being said, this hard-to-come-by book is a must have for interns – I use it just about every day. It’s pocket-sized and has just about every drug imaginable inside along with nutrient interactions and nutrition-relevant side effects.

This book has the saltiest subtitle of all time – “32,000 Conveniences at the Expense of Communication and Safety” – and I love it so much. Because doctors seem to like to make up their own abbreviations, the ones you’re looking for may not always be in here … but standardized ones will be. A generous classmate of mine from undergrad ordered this book for me (I think she found it on ebay for $5) and although I don’t always find what I need, I do end up referencing it almost every day.


I’ve been using this planner for years and I think it’s perfect for someone who has a lot going on (aka a dietetic intern). It’s not for everyone, but I really love the layout and how it has different to-do lists and a weekly view. People are always asking me about it so I thought it would be good to include here!

Image result for Grey's Anatomy 4425 3pkt Fitted Lab Coat w/Heartline

This is the lab coat I settled on, and I like it a lot. It’s heavy but not too heavy, not see-through, and doesn’t get too hot (all lab coats are going to be somewhat hot though). I think it’s a good length and it has plenty of pockets – I usually wear a size medium in women’s clothes and a small in this lab coat is just a tad too big on me (extra small was way too tight though).

Image result for Skechers Women's Go Walk Lite-15433 Boat Shoe

I seriously went through 4 pairs of shoes in just a couple of weeks trying to find a pair that didn’t end up smelling horrible, destroy my feet, or fall apart. I finally settled on these and they check all the boxes! I found them at DSW for about $60 but they’re way cheaper on Amazon. They fit as expected and are super super comfortable and lightweight.

Here’s a bonus for those of you worried about the heaviness of working in a hospital – hear me out. If you tend to take on other people’s emotions or have trouble protecting your heart with difficult situations, give this book a try. You don’t have to identify as an empath or even know what that is to benefit from a lot of the information in this book. Clinical rotations can be emotionally draining, especially if you’ve never worked in a clinical environment before. Try it out and see what you think!

Did I miss anything? What are/were your favorite resources for clinical rotations? Let me know in the comments!

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