Region 2 intern Colleen Donahue had the pleasure of watching a sigmoid colectomy during her clinical rotation. In this video, she shares this experience and tells us how her internship is going so far.
My experience at NYP-Queens started out rather rocky. It was hard to adjust to having a different preceptor each week, sometimes each day, but I learned to take feedback in stride and make everyday a learning opportunity. I am now in the midst of my advanced clinical rotation, working in nutrition support, and these past couple of weeks have looked a lot different than I ever imagined!
It’s one thing to know I may be coming into contact with people who have COVID-19, but it’s a completely different feeling when I know going into a room that a patient is confirmed to have COVID-19. My first interaction was so surreal; I had to put on a gown, hairnet, and gloves in addition to the typical PPE. It was daunting closing the door behind me, feeling trapped in the room with someone who was COVID-19 positive. But once I got in the room, I saw the sweetest elderly man and all of my anxiety left. My main focus became this patient, who was malnourished, and to ensure I gave him the best care possible. I felt sad leaving the room knowing that he was isolated and all alone; this has unfortunately been the sentiment I have felt throughout nutrition support. It fuels my passion even more to work in the field of dietetics and I have gained a greater understanding of the importance of early nutrition support in critically ill patients, witnessing firsthand how dietitians play a key role within the interdisciplinary team ensuring these patients have the best possible chance of recovery.
I am very thankful to be completing my internship in-person despite living through a pandemic. I certainly did not imagine my internship experience occurring through such extreme times, and I have leaned on my faith more than ever through the process. I do not believe I could confidently enter patient rooms without covering myself in prayer and believing that I am healthy and strong. Otherwise, this would be a very fearful experience.
I look forward to my other concentrations, specifically my leadership concentration where I plan to create a blog and social media platform where parents can find relevant information relating to toddler nutrition, pregnancy, and general nutrition topics for the family. I am enjoying my internship experience very much and that I can drive my own experience to gain exposure in as many areas as possible.
The air rushed in and out of my lungs with deliberate pace. I caught myself for a second as I reached the cafeteria, taking in the space and formulating a plan of attack. It wasn’t my first time decorating for an event this month, but tomorrow was special. Tomorrow I was personally responsible for every detail and it had to be perfect.
One of the most intimidating assignments this year for me was the retail and marketing project. How do you create a financially successful event when the facility you are working with is half shut down due to a pandemic? It’s all about the team.
The first step was choosing an event and the person to talk to was the chef. I didn’t want to add extra work to an already overworked environment, so I talked to the chef about his schedule, events already happening, and ideas for what to do. Oktoberfest quickly became the clear choice. This holiday hadn’t been celebrated in a couple years and the chef, having spent time in Germany, was passionate about the food. Next, I asked the employees about past fall celebrations. This was our first success, finding a common passion to fuel motivation and excitement.
Now that the event was chosen and date set, I created a nutritional education plan centered on apples, approved the needed supplies for the menu and display samples with our procurement manager, and worked on marketing materials and handouts. Once the posters were approved by my general manager, we spread the word about the upcoming event. I wanted to personally invite the hospital units to share some of the excitement through face to face marketing. This was our second success, personal contact and connections.
Morning arrived and the various operations were set in motion. Chef had the entire menu taken care of, my friend and I had decorated the cafeteria, the general manager set up an elaborate attraction for the nutrition display, samples were ready, and the polka musicians were in place. This was our third success, communication and organization.
Needless to say, Oktoberfest 2020 was a success. The entire menu sold out, the samples of apple varieties disappeared, and the crowd marveled over the stark contrast in freshly pressed versus store bought apple juice. I had so much fun interacting with the staff and patients’ families. We learned about fall nutrition and the hospital community was brought together in celebration. This was our final success, community teamwork.
No matter what area of dietetics you enter, it’s all about your team. That’s why we chose Sodexo’s internship, because of the team supporting us. I would never have been able to put on my retail marking project without the help of the general manager, procurement manger, retail manager, head chef, pastry chef, kitchen staff, retail staff, and my preceptor/nutrition manager. Thank you for the opportunity to work with this amazing team. Thank you for your support.
My name is Cody Smith, and I am a region 5 dietetic intern located in Weston, West Virginia. Right now, I am interning at Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH), where I have been working on my food service management and clinical rotations since late September.
In the beginning, I was particularly nervous and hesitant to start my rotations at SJMH. I did not know what to expect, and I did not feel confident in my abilities as a new intern. However, my preceptor was able to immediately ease my worries on the first day. My preceptor, along with various other employees, were extremely supportive throughout the entire process. Within a few weeks, I could tell that my confidence and skills were growing.
I started my rotations in food service management where I was able to experience the inner workings of a hospital kitchen and cafeteria. During this time, I worked closely with the kitchen staff and food service director. I worked on numerous different projects, but I believe that the Retail Marketing and Wellness Project has been my favorite so far. I was able to design my own menu, create marketing collateral for my event, and educate our customers on various nutrition topics. This project really gave me the space that I needed to thrive as a dietetic intern. It helped show me what I can do on my own, and how I can make an impact on people’s lives. I did not expect to enjoy the food service management rotation as much as I did, but it really changed my perception on what food service management does on a day-to-day basis.
Now, I am two weeks into my clinical rotations at SJMH. I have been able to assess and work with all kinds of different patients during my time here. I have learned that no patient is easy, and every single person has different factors that must be accounted for. My preceptor has been amazing at guiding me through everything in order to turn me into a competent registered dietitian. I hope to continue learning to be the best that I can be throughout my clinical rotations.
The Sodexo Dietetic Internship has provided me the perfect opportunity to grow as a professional in the field of dietetics. I have gained valuable experience and knowledge in such a short time, and I am excited to see what challenges come next!
Hi there! My name is Mary Ann Bulosan from region 10 located in Corpus Christi, TX. I started off my internship journey in community, and at first, finding preceptors for me within a new city was a bit challenging, especially during the ongoing restrictions. Luckily, Sodexo provided me with examples of community rotation sites and the different opportunities out there. During this time, I made sure to stay in touch with my advisor and director, who were both helpful in answering all my questions/concerns and getting documents signed as requested by some facilities. Although I was able to complete the majority of my rotation hours onsite, I was short a couple of hours but was thankful for the opportunity that Sodexo provides to complete virtual webinars and stimulation activities to finish off my hours.
In my community rotation, interning with two private RDs—pediatric-focused and fitness-focused—I gained insight on building a nutrition business website and had the opportunity to sit in on a nutrition assessment, recall, and counseling virtually while creating recipe blogs, scheduling clients, and learning about coding for insurance purposes. At Coastal Bend Food Bank, I experienced a nutrition follow-up session, assisting in the employee interview process, budgeting, and collaborating with the nutrition educator professionals. I had the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone, apply my knowledge of community nutrition and education during my mindful eating lesson plan. At WIC, I reviewed the patient's history, provided nutritional screening for pregnant mothers and children, participated in nutrition education and followed up consultations with clients where I realized the hardships of many of the clients which have positively or negatively shaped their health and food choices. From this experience, I saw many adults experiencing poverty while facing difficult lifestyle choices and lacked consistent healthy foods therefore increasing risk for diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions.
Currently, I am in my fourth week in my concentration rotation at Better Weigh Center where I gather nutrition assessments, dietary recalls, plan nutrition interventions, identify parameters to monitor success of interventions, individualize support and education for dietary needs as the patient advances through the stages of weight loss. I gain experience in pre- and post-operative counseling for bariatric surgery patients, implement and manage nutrition care plans for weight management while considering life experiences, cultural diversity, and educational background. I have been able to effectively work as part of an interdisciplinary care team to provide high quality patient care.
I have been enjoying each rotation thus far and cannot wait to see what is next. I love the flexibility of Sodexo’s internship and enjoy the accommodation from all of Sodexo’s staff. To my fellow interns, make the most of wherever you are interning, even if it isn’t exactly what you want to do in the future. Learn from everyone you meet, make connections, and utilize your colleagues, advisors, and directors as support!
Hello all! My name is Amanda Fyotek and I am a Region 1 intern based out of the Boston and South Massachusetts areas. I began the internship in September 2020 in my food service management rotation at Bryant University in Rhode Island. I have a strong and pretty diverse background in food service working in restaurants, country clubs, hotels, and even hospitals but never in any school setting. I was very excited that Sodexo was able to place me in a University for this particular rotation!
During my time at Bryant University, I got to experience what managers, supervisors and employees do on a day to day basis, which was fun to learn. This of course is also happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, so there were many opportunities to face and new processes being developed that everyone needed to adjust to. It was both challenging and enlightening to be included in this.
My favorite part about this rotation were the projects. In food service management, there are several projects that allow you to work very closely with the team on items such as sustainability and wellness, which are also two topics I love to learn about! While interviewing with the Chef for the sustainability project, I learned that they had a lot of requests for more vegetarian options. However, the vegetarian station ends up not being utilized much. It was then that I decided I wanted my wellness project to be about plant proteins. I was also lucky to be there during their fall fest week and so I chose a fall harvest plant protein bowl as my item to show off. The recipe came out amazing and was a hit with everyone! Some students came by saying they didn’t realize the vegetarian station was even there and some had never eaten plant proteins such as chickpeas and quinoa, which were both featured in my recipe. It was so much fun to connect with the students and give them something new and delicious to try!
One of the most crucial messages I’ve been able to take away from my time with the internship is how important it is to be flexible. Nothing has been as expected but I wouldn’t change anything about my experiences! COVID-19 has caused many challenges for everyone, but I am so thankful for my internship director who has worked with me, found me great sites, and is always encouraging during my journey!
Welcome! My name is Geanella Vera-Avellan. I am a region 4 dietetic intern based out of Northern NJ. I’ve been fortunate to start my internship with my clinical rotation at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy NJ, and I can’t say enough good things about it! Prior to starting my internship, most of my nutrition experience came from nutrition communications and marketing, so you can imagine I was a bit nervous to start in clinical with no previous experience. Thanks to the wonderful Sodexo dietetic internship team, I felt incredibly supported by having an extensive virtual orientation and individual chats that went over any of our questions and prepared us for this remarkable journey.
Now, I am about 2 months into clinical and I can’t believe how fast time is flying! I am beyond grateful for my preceptors who constantly share their clinical knowledge, and support my professional growth by guiding and training me to be a well-rounded RD.
One of my favorite parts of being in clinical for a hospital that serves a vast Hispanic/Latino community is that I have the opportunity to communicate effectively with patients in my native language, Spanish, which it has been a great impact in their receptiveness when conducting nutrition assessments and diet education.
If there is any piece of advice I can leave you with is to be as present as you can be during this incredible experience! You’ll be surprised at how fast time flies during your internship. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you may have and to be your own advocate when you need help. I am beyond excited to continue my internship journey and embark in more exciting opportunities that continue to challenge and encourage my professional career as a future RD.
Hi dietetic interns! I would like to share a bit about myself and, for current and future interns, why the dietetic internship is NOT that scary!
My name is Brooke VanMeter, and I am currently interning at Union Memorial Hospital as well as Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD. When I began this journey in September, I was apprehensive. Like, nervous for a chemistry final, but not knowing when the chemistry final was going to happen, apprehensive. I had just moved close to Baltimore from a small town a few hours away and had no idea what the internship was going to hold for me. Although my primary area of interest is clinical, my first rotation was food service. Note: I have never actually worked in food service. So, I drive into Baltimore on my first day, park in the wrong parking garage, and get to the hospital with spilled coffee on my sweater. My preceptor finds me in the lobby, shows me the dietitians’ offices, leads me to the kitchen, and introduces me to the kitchen staff, chefs, and managers. By the end of my first day, the cloud of mystery and anxiety about my foodservice rotation, and the internship in general, faded.
As I began to understand foodservice, I found that I enjoyed assisting the chefs prepare meals, taking inventory, observing purchasing, managing receiving, checking temperatures and portions, and leading in-service meetings. From production to retail, I discovered my role in the kitchen and as an intern. When I needed a manager’s assistance in completing a competency, answering a question, or signing a RAEF, they were happy to accommodate me in what I needed achieve. Although I went into the foodservice rotation nervous and unsure, I finished confident, self-directed, and having transitioned from a learner to a doer. I feel that no matter where my profession takes me, the foodservice rotation showed me how to take initiative, be confident even in new situations, and embrace the unfamiliar.
Hi everyone! My name is Andrew Payne and I am an intern from region 11. I am a little over a month into my internship and time really does fly when you’re keeping busy and learning a lot. The experience so far has been great and just diving into the rotations has been a real confidence booster. It has also opened my eyes to career opportunities that I may want to pursue after the internship is over. I still have many more rotations and I’m ready to learn and grow from them as much as I can.
When I first started my rotation, which was in food service management, it was a little overwhelming. My brain was in a million different places thinking about things like projects, competencies, the new environment, and all the new people I just met. Once I took a deep breath, found my rhythm, and got comfortable, everything fell into place. It also helped that my preceptor and the entire crew at Lutheran Medical Center were incredibly welcoming and friendly. It almost felt like I had known the staff for years, which really made my rotation that much less stressful. I have worked in the hospital food service setting for over three years and have worked positions from cashier, coffee shop barista, trayline/trayrunner and diet tech positions. I didn’t think that I would get too much out of the food service rotation but I was wrong. I was pretty unaware of all the hard work that the management side does to keep the food and nutrition department running smoothly. During this rotation I worked so many different positions and it really does amaze me how all the different parts of food service come together and function as one cohesive unit.
Currently, I am at a bariatric center working with the outpatient dietitians. It is shocking how much they have had to adapt during Covid. They went from meeting all their patients personally, to just about everything being virtual or over the phone. I can tell that it has become more challenging especially dealing with weight loss patients where compliance is key and not seeing them face to face really affects that. Just from the little outpatient experience that I’ve had, it is an area that I am realizing that I really enjoy. Overall, I am really enjoying the journey of the internship and am looking forward to all the new experiences to come.
Hello! My name is Hannah Boulaiche and I am a region 4 intern in Philadelphia, PA. I began my clinical rotation in September and have had the unique opportunity of interning at two different hospitals in northeast Philadelphia - Jefferson Torresdale and Frankford. Patient services at the Torresdale campus was my first rotation and it was the perfect introduction to my clinical experience. Here, I was able to see how hospitalized patients' meals are ordered, prepared and delivered, as well as participate and conduct audits on all parts of this process. I also performed meal rounds to obtain feedback from patients on their dietary experience and correct any grievances. Meal rounds really helped me build the confidence I needed to start my basic clinical rotation and go into patient rooms, ask questions about their health, conduct nutrition assessments and provide educations. Basic clinical was the start of my experience at Jefferson Frankford and I was so nervous! I followed the RD for two days to become familiar with the hospital and the screening process before I began screening and seeing my own patients. So far, the most difficult part of my clinical experience has been writing concise notes about my interactions with patients and staff. At Frankford, I have two different preceptors, which can be challenging because they both write notes a little differently. However, I love that I am exposed to different feedback and I enjoy the way they both challenge me.
I have had some great experiences at Jefferson Toressdale and Frankford, but being able to work with the speech language pathologist in my intermediate clinical rotation has by far been the most interesting. The SLP showed me a barium swallow test performed on a patient with a bone growth protruding into their esophagus making it unable to close fully and causing the patient to reflux and aspirate. This patient required tube feeds due to this bone abnormality, and I was able to write the EN formula for this patient. It was an awesome experience being able to work with the SLP and my preceptor to provide the best care for this patient. Pictured is a pumpkin that the diet office and SLP collaborated on for the pumpkin decorating contest this Halloween. We wanted our pumpkin to depict our collaboration of care, so our pumpkin had a tracheotomy and is receiving EN via NG tube.
I am so grateful to be able to complete my rotations in person given the circumstances surrounding COVID19. I am a week into my intermediate clinical rotation and am already overjoyed at all of the experiences I have had so far. My concentration is critical care MNT, so beginning with the clinical rotation was very exciting for me! I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity, asking questions and maximizing my experiences now and throughout my other rotations. I am confident that the Sodexo dietetic internship will prepare me for the RD exam and my future as a registered dietitian!