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Dietetic Internship Weeks 18-28: Clinical 1 & LTC



I’m back tracking here a bit to share some past rotation experiences from this semester. Okay, back tracking is an understatement since I’m wrapping up this semester in like two weeks and this post is going to be about the first part of the semester… but it is what it is. This semester has felt a lot quicker than last semester, which is odd considering there were no breaks this semester, but there were breaks every month last semester. To keep this post from being longer than it needs, let’s just jump in!

Week 18: Community Outreach

The focus of my internship is community, specifically school nutrition education (which is why I always have one day a week where I work in the school nutrition education program). We complete random events throughout the internship, like the Levels event I wrote about previously, that count towards community outreach hours.

Week 19-25: Clinical 1

Some real talk? The fear of completing clinical rotations has kept me from wanting to be a Registered Dietitian. I felt like the role of a clinical dietitian was far off from what I wanted to do. I guess I just imagined a Medical Nutrition Therapy class, but like on steroids. And I always hated MNT in undergrad. Fast forward to grad school and I  L O V E MNT! Maybe it’s because I have such an awesome MNT professor… But MNT is WAY better in grad school than undergrad. I was still afraid of clinical rotation, but spoiler alert, it was great! Like, so great I’m looking at applying to clinical jobs after graduation. Seriously never thought I’d be writing those words.

My clinical rotation wasn’t easy either. One of the dietitians kept telling me it was more of a clinical 2 environment because it was very intense.  My rotation was a LTACH, so I dealt with a lot of patients who were enteral feed dependent, so a lot of tube feeding calculations (like 10 a day), pulmonary, wound care, heart failure, renal, neuro/post trauma, and infectious disease. It was so interesting! There was definitely no easy patient. My case study patient had suffered a fire, had a traumatic brain injury, carbon monoxide poisoning, and was enteral feed dependent.

I became so familiar with enteral feeds, calculating tube feedings, and completing the nutrition care process. I didn’t get any nutrition education experience, but I know I’ll get that in my clinical 2 rotation. Plus, I have previous experience on that with my last job at WIC.

These books were so helpful for my clinical rotation! I used the Abbott one daily because it’s the enteral products the hospital used.

There were also some fun experiences over the weeks that I shared on Instagram, but not on here, so I’l share them with y’all here too in case you missed it!

I attended the West Virginia Eat Right Day at the capital with the interns, interns from WVU, and some members from WV Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. It was cool to experience some public policy work in action!

Taylor and I were able to teach our Fresh for Baby course we developed at Huntington’s Kitchen! It was great to throw back to my WIC roots. I presented on infant nutrition 0-12 months, including development, readiness to eat, food safety, and nutrition needs. Then, we walked people through creating their own baby foods. Our intern friend Michaela came to our class because she was pregnant at the time. She just had her baby boy last week!

Some of you may be familiar with the WV teachers’ strike that happened here. The work stoppage kept us out of the classroom–but we weren’t upset! Totally support our teachers. <3

We used the time to get out in the community and still helped the kiddos. We packed bags of food for the kids in local elementary schools. We also went to local libraries and read stories and taught nutrition lessons to kids. It was fun to switch things up!


Weeks 26-28: Long Term Care

I wasn’t really worried about this rotation, mainly because I had already completed my clinical rotation in an acute long term care setting.  Kinda like my clinical rotation, it helped to keep building my confidence that I can actually see myself working in the long term care setting. And again, like clinical, never thought I’d be writing that.

I hit major burnout during this rotation. I had a lot of family things going on and it was honestly a pretty rough time. I was so incredibly grateful for my preceptor here. She was so understanding and supportive. She said something to me that really helped with the burnout. She was reviewing my nutrition assessment for a patient. I had decided a certain course of action for the patient and explained my reasoning. After, she told me she would have done it slightly different, so I went to change my charting. She stopped me and told me to leave it and explained when I am a dietitian, I can practice however I want, so long as I’m practicing within scope and ethically. I was using appropriate evidence based practices, so there was no reason to change what I had written. This is something that has really stuck with me and helped me so much as I’m thinking forward to being a dietitian here soon.

The last day of my LTC rotation I actually got to go to an Eating Disorder Conference. It was a one day conference, but I was so excited because I was going with my friend Jamie to hear our friend Whitney speak! Whitney is a local eating disorder dietitian here and she has been such a great source of information for me. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to hear her speak and others. The morning was focused on trauma informed care and guys, it was life changing to how I plan on practicing. I won’t ramble about it on here, but if anyone has any questions I’m so down to talk about it! Whitney spoke in the afternoon with a physician at her work about eating disorders specifically and it was so informative!

Right now, I’m in my Food Service Management rotation. I’ll be sharing a blog post on it soon (hopefully) but I really want to get some recipe posts I’ve been working on up too! We’ll see what ends up coming out first.

xx Sara

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