Last week, I finally confronted my biggest fear as a dietetic intern and completed my renal rotation at a dialysis center. While at first anxious, due to my past history of squeamishness and brief lapses of consciousness at the sight of blood, I managed to complete the rotation without any problems. To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed working with the folks on dialysis and could see myself becoming a renal dietitian at some point in the future. Some of my favorite aspects of being a renal dietitian in an outpatient dialysis setting are listed below.
11) Developing a Rapport with Patients
a. Since patients are usually at the dialysis center long-term and must be present 3 days a week, it is easy to develop a rapport with patients. Through your role as the dietitian, you begin to familiarize yourself with each patient’s different lifestyle habits and diet preferences. Knowing a patient’s preferences and dietary patterns makes it easier for you to tailor diet educations and recommendations to each individual patient.
22) The Opportunity to Observe the Impact of your Dietary Interventions and Educations
a. With labs drawn constantly and consistently, you are able to track trends with your patients and monitor their compliance with the renal diet and certain medications.
33) Chance for General Health Promotion
a. Although, most of my time spent at the dialysis center focused on interpreting laboratory results and patient education, there was also a chance for some general health promotion through the lobby bulletin-board. This allowed my partner and I to design a lay-out and materials for the month of May that focused on one specific component of the renal diet.