Hello to future and fellow dietetic interns! My name is Jackie, and I am currently in my dietetic internship with Region 9. That’s the Midwest for all those not in the know. I wish I could take you through an exciting day on the job, but I’m on a little break before I crack at it again with my foodservice rotation. I completed 16 weeks at a hospital in Minneapolis and another 5 weeks at the two children’s hospitals in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
I’ve been asked a lot by family and friends what it’s like to have this experience. It’s taken me a while to describe it, but here is the best I’ve come up with: Picture yourself having just learned how to ride a bike. Pretty great, huh? Wind in your hair, your own personal freedom of being in control of your journey. Ok, now picture someone handing you a giant pizza to deliver and a couple bags of groceries balanced on the handlebars. You are still moving, and you still have your own personal freedom to get to your destination, but you have to juggle some things as well. You have all this momentum from your undergrad knowledge and experiences and the new knowledge you acquire while at your rotations and learning from your preceptors.
My clinical experience was unique. One minute I was working with a critical care team in the ICU, deciding when to stop the tube feed and have them start eating again. Next, I gave heart health education to a class of people who had just had heart surgery. I felt like I blinked was transitioned into my pediatric rotation. Another excellent and educational experience. With both rotations, some days, I was confident in what to do and how to handle the situations. Some days, I needed help, which was easy to come by in the internship. You are always fully supported by your regional preceptors, director, and fellow interns. Once you realize everyone in this program is rooting for you to finish and learn, juggling and navigating become much more manageable.
I will never forget my first time calculating a TPN order at my clinical site. It was scary and intimidating, but I had help from my preceptor. After completing it, I got to discuss it with fellow interns in my region to show them what worked and what didn’t. This is such a unique experience where you take all this valuable knowledge from your undergrad and apply it to real-life situations immediately, so take advantage of new learning opportunities whenever you can. The juggling and the balancing will not go away but will become much more manageable.