Clinicals Week 7 & 8

Well folks, that’s a wrap for my first clinical rotation as a dietetic intern! I’m genuinely sad that it’s over because I really grew to enjoy working with the RDs and patients at my hospital. BUT, that is the nature of the internship, right?

Before and after clinical rotations =P

The last two weeks of clinicals was crazy hectic because I was rushing to get my case study presentation done. This is a cornerstone project of our internship – we choose one of our patients to do a deep dive on and research advances in medical nutrition therapy and other treatments. Of course I had to pick a complicated case with a rare diagnosis, but I’m glad I pushed myself because I learned a lot about a disease I’d never heard of.

So amidst panicking about getting that done (which really was not necessary … panic rarely is), I also prepared a Journal Club discussion with my fellow intern Amanda for the RDs at our hospital. I love combing through research so this was a really fun project for me! We led a discussion about a new systematic review that came out recently about the health implications of red meat (you can read it here) and it was a blast!

I also got to follow the hospital’s diabetes educator for a few hours – this was a great experience that really had me thinking about the way I want to interact with my patients and how much more I have to learn about counseling. This is a subject I love to harp on – they do not give us enough training on behavior change in school. Effective counseling is crucial to dietetics and it’s something that I’m trying to study on my own during the internship. While we’re at it, these are the two books I’m reading right now to expand my knowledge:

And while we’re on the topic of self-study, I just want to emphasize how important I feel it is to pursue what you’re passionate about while you’re in the safe little bubble of your internship. I know it’s hard to imagine fitting one more thing into your schedule during the craziness off the internship, but it’s really a great time to build your network and start creating the foundation for your career. This is especially important if you’re planning to take the entrepreneurial route – I’m planning to jump right into private practice after I earn my credentials, but I know I need to start laying the groundwork for that NOW and build my knowledge base for my future clients. Doing this keeps me focused, motivated, and excited for the future, especially when I’ve had a rough day.

Oh and in case you were curious, my case study presentation went really well! When I first started undergrad for dietetics I was absolutely terrified of public speaking, but weirdly I was also really drawn to it. I have always loved TED talks and admire the speakers who are clearly nervous but get up on that stage and deliver a revolutionary talk regardless – this drove me to pursue things that desensitized me to public speaking so that one day I could give my own TED talk =) I started teaching classes at a local small business about nutrition and created a podcast, and after a year of doing these things my fear of public speaking is pretty much gone. I went from not being able to breathe when I was in front of a room of people to actually seeking out opportunities to speak in public! I wanted to point this out because I know a lot of people are afraid of public speaking and there is nothing special about me being able to do it – I literally just practiced until I wasn’t nervous anymore. That’s it!

The last week of my rotation was mostly spent seeing patients, filling out evaluations and other paperwork to submit to blackboard, and getting ready for my next rotation. On my last day I made sure to give my preceptor a thank you card and I brought donut holes for the entire RD staff, because everyone there really supported me during my time with them. Thanking my preceptors is really important to me, even if it’s just a simple thank you card – for one thing these dietitians are dedicating their time to further my education, but I may also depend on them in the future for a job recommendation or referral.

Now I’m getting ready to start my next adventure – four weeks at a long term acute care facility. Translation? I’ll be doing a lot of tube feed calculations. Luckily I like doing them so I’m not dreading it, plus at the end of this rotation it’s time for Thanksgiving break! Thank GOD.

Lessons Learned This Week:

  • I want to go straight into private practice, and I need to be confident in that decision and not be afraid to tell people that for fear of judgement. It’s my future after all, not anyone else’s.
  • The internship is not as horrible as everyone says it is (the whole reason I created this website is to spread that message!), but there are hard days. It’s cool to have negative emotions but at some point you have to move on.
  • And speaking of that, find something you’re passionate about within nutrition that can keep you focused on the days where your rotation feels completely worthless to your future. I really believe all of my experiences during my internship are valuable, but going home and working on my own business plans and learning new things I’m interested in helps me refocus any annoyed energy I may have on something worthwhile.
  • This is all temporary. This is all temporary. This is all temporary.

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