Rita Woodard - Region 10
Hi! My name is Rita, and I am a Sodexo intern from region 10 based in Dallas, TX. I’ve lived in the Dallas area for the past nine years, so it was nice that Sodexo had an internship spot available in my area. I just wrapped up my time at a hospital where I was able to complete my food service, clinical, patient services, and clinical nutrition management rotations. After orientation in September, it felt like I would be at the hospital forever! Now, I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone and how much I’ve grown during that time. Overall, I really enjoyed the clinical rotation. I was at a teaching hospital so everyone, from the team of dietitians to nurses, PT, OT, SLP, MDs, and leadership were willing to help. One recommendation I have for other interns or potential interns is to ask questions! This not only helps you learn more while you are on the job, but it shows that you are engaged and care about what you are doing, you respect the person’s knowledge and opinion that you are asking the question to, and that you are taking an active step to learn as much as possible.
I had previously worked in a corporate setting, so being in a hospital was a brand-new experience. It was difficult to see patients that were relatively young face a difficult diagnosis, older patients that were failing to thrive, or patients that did not make it out of the hospital that I had engaged with multiple times. One of the most rewarding parts, however, was being able to connect with patients and seeing their health improve over the course of their stay. While some patients just wanted you out of their room and would only respond with 1–2-word answers, others enjoyed having someone to talk to.
I loved working the geriatric service and having patients tell me about what they used to do or tell me about their grandkids. Other floors, it was more about connecting with a family member or caregiver depending on the state of the patient. By creating a connection instead of just a transaction, I was better able to build trust with patients and their families. It helped patients by feeling that their healthcare team members truly were interested in their care and were keeping track of their progress. It helped me by being able to assess changes in a patient not only by their clinical status, but also by being able to identify changes in the patient’s mood, how they describe how they feel from day to day, changes in their appearance, and how their family is feeling the patient is improving. It was also more satisfying to see a patient be discharged in a better state than they were when they came in!
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