Hi all! My name is Heidi, and I am a dietetic intern in region 4. So far, I have put in over 400 hours and have learned so much in that time. I started the internship in the food service management rotation (FSM) at a local hospital and got to work on some fun projects, form good relationships with the kitchen staff, and strengthen my leadership skills. From there, I spent two weeks in Long Term Care (LTC) at a skilled nursing facility. I was thankful that I had that time in LTC previous to starting clinical, because it helped me brush up on some of my MNT knowledge. My preceptor was great, and I learned a lot by asking questions.
Now, I am 6 weeks into my clinical rotation at another hospital, and the time is going by fast. This rotation has stretched me in good ways, one of which being, forcing me out of my comfort zone. It’s also been very rewarding to get to work with real patients. Since my first week, I’ve become a lot more comfortable performing NFPEs, giving diet educations, charting on patients, practicing MNT for various disease states, and communicating with the interdisciplinary teams. My preceptors also give me opportunities to learn from other members of the team. So far, I got to watch a barium swallow study, sit in on sessions with the diabetes educator, participate in rounding, and work with the outpatient dietitian for a day. Every day is a new adventure, and I am constantly learning.
My advice for new dietetic interns would be to stay organized. I like to keep a clinical binder with resources that I can look to when I need it. Keeping your assignment calendar with you is a good idea to help you keep up to date with your assignments as it can be easy to get behind if you aren’t careful. I would also encourage future interns to make friends and stay in touch with the interns you meet at orientation. It’s encouraging to be able to talk with friends that understand what the dietetic internship is like. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You aren’t expected to know it all. Your preceptors have been in your spot once, and they want to help you learn and grow as an upcoming registered dietitian.