Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Finding Happiness in the Hospital

My two and half month clinical rotation has officially come to a close. Clinical nutrition has never been my driving force in this field of work; however, my experience these past 11 weeks has changed how I feel about clinical dietetics. So if you are a future Dietetic Intern and you are struggling with the fact that all internships require you to do a large portion of time in clinical, read on.
I went into this rotation with the mindset, “I cannot wait for this to be over. I know this isn’t what I want to do. I know I don’t want to work in a hospital.” Period. However, with some time, I started to think and feel differently. At the rotation end I reflected on my time in the hospital and came up with two huge reasons why I appreciated the lengthiness required of an intern in a clinical setting.
1st: Working as a clinical dietitian allowed me to gain skills that can’t be obtained through reading a textbook or sitting in a classroom. No matter how many times I have heard an ADIME lecture, all the steps in the process didn’t click for me until I physically screened and visited patients in the hospital.  Constantly learning and gaining new knowledge is very satisfying and rewarding. This is important to have in any job, but especially when you are not being paid for your work. My knowledge of different disease states and medical nutrition therapy greatly deepened during this rotation. This constant learning and skill development helped keep me engaged, on my toes, and focused while working in the hospital.
2nd: Helping others is extremely rewarding. It provides a sense of satisfaction and happiness that can’t be attained through any tangible or worldly item. This rotation forces you to take yourself outside of your own thoughts and needs; it has helped me to be a more selfless, thoughtful person. When you are in the hospital you are surrounded by sick, often frightened patients. You can’t go into their room with a bad attitude and expect them to give you the answers you need to get your job done well. You have to step outside of yourself to provide them the care that you would want if you were in their shoes.
However, treating patients the way I would want to be treated was not a huge challenge for me. The challenge for me was the way being in a hospital all day made me think and feel after I left work. Not to get morbid, but it made me think about sickness and death more often than I wanted. Sometimes it made me feel sad, maybe even a little depressed.  With that said, thinking about my patients and their (mostly) positive attitudes and outlooks on life made me realize I needed to snap out of it. Life is fleeting; we all go through hardship and have pain at one point or another. I can choose to feel sad and sorry for myself when things get tough or I can choose to be happy and strong. It isn't always easy, but then I think about my patients and the lessons they have (unknowingly) taught me; I choose to be happy and strong.  

To help myself feel this way, even after a hard day of work, I decided to start counting my blessings and reminding myself of all the good that I have in my life on a daily basis. This way of thinking required me to monitor my thoughts and actions consistently. The moment I started to complain, feel angry, feel sad, feel like I was treated unfairly, etc.  I reminded myself of everything wonderful that I have in my life. This ability to re-direct my thoughts when negativity enters my brain has been beneficial to me in so many ways that extend far beyond the workplace. Life is so short, I want to be happy during the time I have here.
 I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to work this length of time in a hospital. I can now say with 100% honesty that I am not opposed to taking a job in a clinical setting once this program comes to an end.

Pictures posted are of just a few of the things/people that make me happy and inspire me to be better on a daily basis.

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