Hi everyone! My name is Stephen Vaccarello, and I am an intern from Region 1 right outside of Boston, MA. Being a part of this program is one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but it is also one of the most rewarding. I have met so many different people from cooks, nurses, doctors, managers, outpatient staff (both frontline and support) and most importantly patients. I have never felt more rewarded during my clinical rotation working when talking with and educating patients and working with patients in the Critical Care Unit.
At first, I felt overwhelmed, even by the time I was approaching advanced clinical as these patients were in a whole different league compared to floor patients. With the help of my preceptors, I was able to learn quickly, and when these patients improved, I could not help but keep a smile.
I would say that if you have not been exposed to the hospital setting, then applying for a diet tech position even for a summer before you start will help. You may be more on the food service side, but you will learn hospital operations as time goes on and can work with dietitians if they would allow it. I worked as a diet tech in a skilled nursing facility and at an acute rehab hospital and that experience was invaluable going into the internship. Simply learning how to talk to patients, nurses, even doctors at times is a skill that can only improve over time, and this experience could help you during the rotations.
A couple tips I would give would be to stay organized, and to ask for help when you need it. Staying organized will help you break down assignments and their due dates and to manage the workload. Asking for help was one of my weaknesses and something I am still working on. Whenever you have a question, it is always better to ask than to go ahead and continue. If you don’t ask, then you may have to redo parts of the assessment or another project.
To conclude this program is difficult, but the more work you put in, the more you get out of it. Stand up for yourself and remember this is a learning experience. You will have tough days but by the end you will be rocking your rotations! Good Luck!