Sunday, October 13, 2013

Confidence Through Preparation

                We've all heard it before: plan, practice, organize, make a list, etc. . . But were we ever told why?  Our high school and undergraduate careers involved little assignments that led to a final project or presentation, and our extra-curricular activities involved practices, drills and exercises to sharpen our skills for the upcoming performance. When it came time to write our final paper, we knew we could do it because we got As on all those little assignments; when it came time to throw a pass to a teammate as she streaked down the field toward the goal, we knew we could because we did it every day in practice. These assignments, drills and exercises gave us confidence through preparation.
             Throughout the clinical rotation of the dietetic internship, confidence through preparation is key. Reading a patient's past medical history, admitting diagnosis, current medications, and laboratory values are easy. Walking into a patient's room, asking them about their usual diet, social history, living situation, and self-management their current health is easy. It's tying all the information together to pinpoint a nutrition diagnosis with appropriate interventions that's difficult. However, this is where being prepared gives the confidence to do just that.
              Over the summer and throughout the clinical rotation, assignments have been given ranging from studying simple medical terms to identifying the appropriate nutrition therapy for gastroparesis. Assignments to determine the mechanisms, uses, and nutritional side effects of medications have been given , so when a patient is being treated with steroids, their high glucose levels are no surprise. These small assignments have prepared us interns to quickly answer our preceptors' questions, or to ask knowledgeable ones because we have adequate back ground information. The assignments have given us the ability to not only communicate in a medical setting, but to have confidence in our diagnoses and defend them when questioned. 
               Organizing reading notes, reviewing flashcards, practicing PES statements, and planning driving routes to assure a punctual arrival are only a few activities that assure confidence each day. Without confidence interns may be hesitant to speak with patients and their nurses, shy to inform the pharmacist of a TPN calculation, and scared to ask preceptors for help. To perform well at anything, confidence to do it is extremely important, and what better way to know you can do it than by preparing?  

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