Going into this internship, I was always afraid of clinical. I think every dietetic intern is nervous about clinical at point or another. My clinical rotation, however, has been a special one so far. Most interns do their clinical rotation in a hospital setting but I have the unique privilege of beginning in a long term care facility. I also have the to opportunity to start with two different preceptors at two different locations. My two locations are the Villa Rosa Home and Riverview Rehabilitation and Health Center. Both of my preceptors are passionate about their work and are the best at what they do.
I am currently at Villa Rosa, three days a week and Riverview, one day a week. This is only for four weeks before I start my rotation at the Baltimore VA. Only one week has passed and I feel like I have learned so much. I also found out that clinical isn’t as scary as everyone says it is. My preceptor at Villa Rosa, Stephanie Krimmel is a fantastic RD. She explains terms to me and is patient when I don’t know something. I have a lot of notes just from one week there.
I typed up several nutrition notes and she supervised my progress. On my last day there last week, I got to see a swallow evaluation. The speech therapist, Katie explained to me what she was doing and I saw how much dedication goes into one evaluation. The speech therapist has to persuade the resident into eating several things and she watched for movement in the throat and jaw. Katie also had her hand against the resident’s throat to feel for swallowing. I can really see how RDs and speech therapists working together is essential. Next week, I get to observe wound rounds. Thankfully, I am not squeamish around blood so I am looking forward to this.
At my second long term care facility, Riverview I met Cheryl Frazier. She is also a fantastic preceptor. I am so glad that they are my preceptors. Cheryl introduced me to everyone as we made our tour around Riverview. It is a much larger and busier rehabilitation center than Villa Rosa. It was remarkable to see how vastly different the two facilities were. At the Maryland Dietetics in Health Care Communities fall meeting, there was a session on transforming the dining service in long term care centers. They handed out trays, and gave menus that looked like you were dining in a five star restaurant. Riverview is one of the facilities where this style of dining service is being implemented. The chefs launched a new menu for the Riverview staff to try. Cheryl and I took pictures of it for Riverview. We also got to try a few things and I have to say that it was excellent. From the cornbread stuffed pork to the salad everything was delicious.
Overall, my experience at these two places were eye opening and made my transition to clinical feel effortless. I really appreciated that both my preceptors took the time and patience with me. I went into clinical having an open mind even if I was nervous. It really did pay off because now I enjoy it and am willing to step outside my comfort zone.