After the start of clinical, my nerves were eased as I was gradually introduced to clinical through the different stages: basic, intermediate, and advanced clinical. I have seen patients with increasing levels of complexity. I have developed my skills performing nutrition focused physical exams, helped diagnose malnutrition in the hospital, and seen first-hand the role of dietitians in diagnosing malnutrition. Now that I am in clinical staff relief, I feel like I am a member of the health care team. I attend interdisciplinary rounds with nurses, doctors, pharmacists and social workers. I have given TPN recommendations to surgical PAs and reminded doctors to check crucial labs. Another rewarding thing is being able to follow-up with patients. Following patients from the start of TPN when they are not feeling well all the way to when they are able to eat again and ready to go home is extremely rewarding.
Another opportunity I have valued is spending time with the speech language pathologist (SLP). I have shadowed the SLP performing a bed-side swallow evaluation on a recently extubated patient. I also observed a modified barium swallow with the SLP. It has been really cool seeing the connection between the two disciplines first-hand. I have also been able to spend a day with the bariatric dietitian, observing the dietary changes needed before and after surgery.
My biggest advice for future interns is to stay on top of the internship work. The clinical packets can seem overwhelming at first. Staying on top of them will prepare you for clinical and make your life easier. Second, take time for yourself! It is so easy to get consumed in all the work that comes along with the internship. Taking time to exercise or whatever helps you destress can help you so much in the long run!