Thursday, October 18, 2012

DC VA Medical Center: Clinical Insights

By Nikki Bolduc

This week marks the 8th, and final, week of my clinical rotation at the DC Veteran’s Medical Center.  Next week I will begin staff relief.   It is hard to believe! 

Based on my own initial perceptions as well as discussions I've had with my fellow internship and undergraduate class, I feel comfortable saying that clinical is by far the most intimidating rotation.  However, I am happy to report that your education does not fail you during your clinical rotation and you will be surprised by the amount of knowledge you can pull from your studies.   

Speaking from my own experience, I have been thoroughly impressed with the amount of attention the dietitians at the DC Veteran’s Medical Center have given me.  The volume of knowledge I have gained each and every day is extremely exciting and satisfying.   To help you gain the most out of your clinical experience, I’d like to provide a few recommendations that have helped me along the way.

Two of my fabulous preceptors.
  1. Purchase a small notebook.  Despite how great your memory is you will find plenty of opportunities where you will need to look something up later, jot down a reminder, or add a medication to your running list (another suggestion J). 
  2. Purchase a small address book.  Keep a list of medical abbreviations – you won’t believe the amount of abbreviations used by medical professionals and the time it takes to commit them all the memory.   
  3. Be the part – arrive on time, dress in proper attire and carry yourself with confidence.  Give your preceptors confidence that they can count on you.
  4. Don’t be shy.  You may feel out of place or are just plain uncomfortable in the hospital setting, but remember that most of the doctors, interns, residents, etc. do not know each other either and they are focused on their job (not you). 
  5. Be open-minded!  Try to see and do everything you are given the opportunity to see and do.  You will be amazed by what you will learn from each experience and the confidence you will gain from it.
  6. Do your research.  Try to be as prepared as possible every day of your rotation.  Your learning is greatly enhanced when you can recall and/or make connections to concepts you have looked over recently.

I hope these few insights are helpful to you.   Good luck!

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