The renal rotation at Independent Dialysis Foundation (IDF), a University of Maryland affiliate, is a more relaxed version of the clinical rotation. There are fewer patients to see and only one disease state to focus on. It is easier to communicate with the physicians and nurses when the staff is smaller and there everyday.
Best Aspects of Working as a Registered Dietitian in Outpatient Dialysis:
1. Build relationships
The patients need to come for dialysis three days a week, and treatment is typically three hours long, allowing for a lot of time to sit and talk with the patient. One day, I had the opportunity to discuss low potassium foods for one hour with a patient who was very interested in learning how to lower his potassium levels. The patients knew all of the employees so when they saw me, they immediately wanted to know who I was and what I was doing.
2. Focus on one disease state
The registered dietitian discussed labs related to end stage kidney disease, medications, and special diet requirements. All three of these items play a role with one another, and it is unique to renal dietitians to be able to discuss all three with the patient and have the physician in complete agreement. This allows for a conclusive picture of what the patient needs.
3. See the success of patients
While I was at IDF, a patient who received a kidney transplant and was now off dialysis came into the office to visit the staff. Everyone was so happy to see him. He shared his experience with the kidney transplant and how his quality of life had improved now that he no longer needs dialysis three times a week. Experiencing this makes for a very rewarding day.
During my renal rotation I experienced a great deal in three days. I provided nutrition education to a variety of patients, explained lab values, and medications to patients. I wrote chart notes for new admissions and quarterly reports. I posted a bulletin board on fluid intake in the lobby and arranged spice samples for patients to take home. This experience sparked my interest in becoming an outpatient registered dietitian and I am very thankful to the dietitian who let me work with her.
|Bulletin Board on Fluid Intake|