While at the hospital, it all became real. All of the knowledge I had learned in school was applied day one. I’ve kept my handy-dandy notebook in my pocket with references, resources and space to write down what I do every day. It allows me to reflect back on what I’ve done and research things that might not have been clear. It is now a valuable resource that I can refer to not only while studying for the exam, but in my future practice.
Just a few examples of some exciting opportunities I have been given include formulating a personalized TPN solution for a critically ill patient alongside a pharmacist, daily NFPE on patients with malnutrition, and even observing a Modified Barium Swallow with a speech language pathologist.
One of my favorite aspects of the Food and Nutrition program at this hospital is how involved in the community they are. There are “Teaching Kitchen” and “Lunch and Learn” classes every two weeks, available to not only staff at the hospital, but adults in the local community and group homes. These classes include nutrition-related topics as well as recipe demonstrations and sampling. I started off just assisting in the beginning but have now been given the opportunity to implement and present some of my own ideas and recipes at these classes!
Additionally, the hospital provides cardiac rehab to those individuals who have recently had a heart-related medical event such as a heart attack. After physical rehab, nutrition education follows. I am now teaching the cardiac nutrition classes for the program all on my own – another great accomplishment!
These community nutrition classes have given me the opportunity to gain confidence and work on my presentation skills almost weekly. Something I was once felt weak at, has now turned into my favorite part of the day!
The take away: Accept every opportunity presented to you. If it seems scary – do it! You will be so proud once you see what you’re capable of. Keep an open mind – just because you’re in your clinical rotation, doesn’t mean you have to turn down community opportunities. It may seem difficult to balance everything at once, but I promise, if you stay organized and prioritize your work, it will all get done! Stay positive, work hard, and enjoy the experience!