As I dive deeper into my clinical rotation, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned about being a clinical dietitian. Aside from the clinical experience itself, I had the benefit of working with a variety of clinical dietitians to pull techniques, shortcuts and tricks from. I’ve learned that there is not one right way to be a clinical dietitian – there may not even be a best way. Throughout my journey I was impressed by a clinical dietitian with a compassionate bedside manner, and equally impressed by a dietitian who was rarely able to speak with her intubated patients, but knew their whole medical plan of care as well as the most current, evidence-based approach to their nutritional treatment. I was amazed by the speedy, efficient work of one dietitian while admiring another’s greatly detailed and thorough reports.
It has been a relief to discover that a variety of personality types make good clinical dietitians. The important factors in becoming “good” are to know your strengths, practice to your strengths, and stay passionate about your work!
The shortcuts and tricks I learned from the clinical dietitians I’ve worked with thus far are as follows:
- Start the day by organizing your patients – color code
- As you’re jotting down patient information, plan for the patient interview by highlighting areas you need to ask about
- I repeat: use a highlighter
- Create your own shorthand
- Use the fishbone to record lab work – it doesn’t take long to learn
- Talk to the nurse! They can tell you key info faster than you can look it up
And feel free to add your own.