I just want to start by saying that I absolutely love my clinical nutrition rotation!
For my very first rotation as a University of Maryland dietetic intern I was assigned to 10 weeks at a community hospital. Each week I work side-by-side with a different Registered Dietitian. Some have years of experience and some are new dietitians, not too long ago interns themselves. But each has generously offered their time to help me learn the trade, for which I am grateful.
I have seen a variety of patients at the hospital- some old, some young, some with acute conditions, some with chronic illness. Each patient is a new experience and a new challenge. I’m learning every day!
Here are some highlights:
-Educating an El Salvadorian woman, newly diagnosed with diabetes, on blood sugar control (in Spanish).
-Calculating TPN and PPN for patients with non-functional GI tracts.
-Monitoring a preterm infant struggle to gain weight as she was going through opiate withdrawal.
-Assessing nutrition needs of a vented patient.
-Selecting appropriate formulas for long-term enteral nutrition support and determining volume and rate of feeding.
-Completing calorie counts to assess nutrient intake of patients.
Being part of the medical team in a community hospital for the past 6 weeks has been a valuable experience. The dietitians are my number one resource and serve as resources for each other as well. This has given me a stronger appreciation for teamwork within a hospital. I’ve seen how important it is for dietitians to collaborate, not only with each other, but also with the other health care professionals involved in a patient’s care. Communicating with the doctors, speech therapists, nurses, social workers, case managers, pharmacists, and physical therapists at the facility has allowed me to provide higher quality patient care.
I’m six weeks closer to becoming a RD and know that I have so much more to learn. . . but I’m loving every minute of it (and that’s what matters most)!
Sasha B. Bard, MSN