Tag Archives: dietetic student

Revival Blog Post – Life as a New RD

Since my last post, I admit I’ve been a little confused on how to progress with this blog.  “Mission: Dietitian” was intended to outline my progress through the dietetic internship and becoming a Registered Dietitian.  Well…it’s over, I’m an RD, now what?

Over the past couple months I’ve been getting quite a bit of feedback from readers, mostly emails from future RDs/interns asking about my experiences and applications (I try to get back to people as best I can, apologies if my responses are delayed!)  Plus my blog views have risen exponentially since I wrote posts about studying for the RD exam and finding a job.  I’m so happy I can help fill the internet void that I encountered when I googled “tips for studying for RD exam”.

Bear with me while I make a few changes to the blog, such as changing my header (I haven’t been a dietetic intern for quite a while now!) and shifting the focus from becoming an RD to actually being a new RD.  Starting my full-time career has definitely kept me busy but I feel confident I can start blogging regularly once again.  I hope that my posts continue to inspire and help potential dietetic students, interns, and other new dietitians!

As always, I welcome your feedback, suggestions, and questions via comments on the blog.  Is there anything about becoming/being a dietitian you’d like me to write about in particular?


On to the 5th Week

Well, this upcoming week is the 5th week of my clinical rotation.  I have to do 8 weeks at my current hospital, 2 more weeks at a different hospital (just to get another perspective from how another place runs things), and then come back to do 2 weeks of staff relief at my original hospital.  12 weeks total clinical, technically.  It’s a long time, but I don’t mind- I am really enjoying what I’m doing just because it’s so interesting!

Because the 8-week period is halfway over, I had an evaluation  with my preceptor.  He said I’m doing very well so far, which was great to hear!  He even observed me while I educated a patient on dietary interactions with the drug Coumadin.  (Coumadin prevents blood clots by thinning the blood, and you have to watch Vitamin K intake because K promotes blood clotting mechanisms.)  One thing I do need to work on is my “authority”- aka my confidence and portraying myself as an expert (although I don’t feel like one just yet!)  I’m sure that will come as time goes on, however, as I become more and more comfortable.

Friday was an exciting day.  I finished up my mini case study report on a patient I had been following for a few days.  He had not only diabetes…but hypertension…congestive heart failure…and worsening chronic kidney disease!  He was definitely more complex that originally anticipated, but I got to learn a lot about how all these conditions affect each other.  Plus he was the nicest guy who was great to work with.

Friday I also did FOUR patients, which is the most I’ve ever done.  I followed up with my case study, did a diabetes and low-sodium diet education, assessed a patient with severe nausea/vomiting from chemotherapy, and worked with a patient to find soft foods he could eat since he didn’t have a lot of teeth.

This week’s homework topic is enteral and parenteral feeding, which is nutrition support in the form of tube feeding and IV administration.  Speaking of homework…I have to get back to doing it!  I’ll try to update again later this week, hopefully after getting the chance to write some nutrition support orders!

First Up: Clinical

I have jumped headfirst into the internship with the seemingly busiest, most demanding rotation first: clinical.  In this internship, we have a partner that we do rotations with.  However, the clinical portion is individual, so it’s a bit intimidating!

I am so grateful that I had a lot of volunteer experience at George Washington University Hospital in DC.  I remember how terrifying it was to just walk into a patient’s room and speak to them at first!  I was fortunate enough  to be able to shadow some of the dietitians there as well, which has made the start of clinical just a tad easier.  At least it’s not all brand new!

So far, I have become oriented to the hospital and shadowed my preceptor doing the normal tasks of a clinical dietitian such as writing tube feedings, visiting with a couple patients, and working with the nurses and other hospital staff.  Next week, I will become more involved in the daily duties of a dietitian.  I also have homework to work on, both for clinical assignments and to begin building my electronic portfolio!

For now, I will enjoy the long weekend 🙂 Happy Labor Day!

Not Your Average Internship

Match for Internship

The Greatest Relief EVER!

For those of you not in the field of nutrition, you may be wondering why I am blogging about a silly little internship.  So I can share stories of getting coffee for the boss? Doing menial tasks to assist the real workers? Silently suffering at the bottom of the ladder in the hope of one day being hired?

While I’m sure that would be a thrilling blog to read, this is NOT that kind of internship.  Instead, I like to think of it as nursing school, but for dietitians.  A college degree is required, and completion of an internship is necessary to obtain the coveted “RD” (Registered Dietitian) credentials behind my name so I can get a job.  It’s sort of a graduate program that you pay for, but you don’t earn graduate credit.  Basically, I am in career limbo.

My dietetic internship has a ton of different rotations and sites that I will be blogging about.  For example, I’ll be working at a local hospital for my clinical rotation, Riderwood Village and UMD Dining Services for my foodservice rotations, Food & Friends and School Lunch for my community rotations, and IFIC (International Food Information Center) and CNPP (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion) for my information technology rotations.  My internship director explained this process as “A 10.5 month job interview.” All the rotations will definitely help me pinpoint where I would like to go in my career, and who knows, maybe a job will come out of it as well!

Getting here wasn’t necessarily simple.  For each internship I applied to, I had to write a slightly different essay, fill out lengthy forms, and solicit three letters of recommendation from my work supervisors and professors.  The various internships I applied to had different requirements and different due dates; this caused me many afternoons of stressing out at the post office, triple-checking to make sure I had everything in order for an overnight, traceable delivery (I couldn’t risk my applications getting lost in the mail!)

After that, there was a long period of waiting: first for an invitation for an interview, and eventually for match day.  Match day was the day that we found out 1) If we got an internship 2) which one we got.  No, we weren’t offered admission from different programs and then got to choose; instead, we had to rank the internships, they ranked us, and we were matched by a computer system.  Sound stressful? It was.  Of course, the <50% acceptance rate to dietetic internships didn’t help with the anxiety.

Fortunately, on that fateful day, I was matched to the UMD internship, and here I am!  I loved the variety of rotations within the program and its focus on nutrition communications and information technology.  I could not be more excited to get started!  First up: clinical rotations!

And So it Begins…

First Day

Another intern and I on our first day.

Today marked the completion of my first week as a dietetic intern!  After four years of grueling coursework, a lengthy application process, and a very anxious match day, I was ecstatic to be matched with the University of Maryland College Park Dietetic Internship.  Throughout the summer I had been working on assignments to prepare for this 10.5 month program with an emphasis in information technology and communication, and I’m excited to begin!

The first few days were comprised mainly of orientation and entry procedures.  The 10 of us got to know each other pretty quickly as we learned about what we would be doing at our various rotations.  In the first few days, we traveled to Baltimore’s Harbor Hospital, the University of Maryland campus, Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, and the National Agriculture Library (NAL).

The Registered Dietitians that work at NAL taught us about using websites and social media to share nutrition information with the public.  They covered topics such as maintaining a positive presence on the internet, using twitter, and creating Web sites.  As interns, we are even responsible for submitting tweets and blog entries for the program!  Because of my strong interest in using communication via the internet in my future as a dietitian, I found these lessons to be especially useful.  I am eager to begin building my own electronic portfolio that will showcase my work during the internship.

One week down, and so far so good! TGIF!