I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled Meatless Monday recipe posts to wrap up the last 6 months of my life…my clinical rotations of my dietetic internship!
Read on to find out my very real thoughts on my clinical rotations, a few lessons I’ve learned, and my advice for future dietetic interns…
It’s crazy to think that over 6 months ago I started my clinical rotations for my dietetic internship…boy how time flies!
On Friday, I walked out of the hospital as a Dietetic Intern for the last time (in case you didn’t see on snapchat…follow me, @chelseyamer). I’m off this week (wooo hoooo!) and then have 4 weeks of my “community” rotation (more on that soon…it’s suuuuper exciting!!) before I can take my RD exam! Can you say a long time coming??? (4 years to be exact!)
Since so many RDs were so gracious to give me FANTASTIC advice before I started my rotations, I wanted to take a minute and #payitforward and reflect on some lessons I’ve learned from my experience.
Despite the enthusiasm I may have shown at times, my clinical rotations were extremely challenging…like I frequently felt like I was jumping through rings of fire, challenging! There have been more ups and downs than I can even describe, but as a whole, I definitely feel like I’m not only better ((clinically)) equipped to be an RD, but also a stronger person. Over the past 6 months I’ve consumed more cups of coffee than I ever knew I could drink (and I loooooove me a good cup o’ joe!), got used to a full-time job, faced my fear of public speaking to an incredibly intimidating audience (even if I didn’t fully overcome it!), and abandoned any resemblance of a normal work/life balance. #internshipproblems Plus, dealing with so many personalities made me feel like I was back in my sorority house at times…#truth
So here are 7 lessons learned from my clinical dietetic internship and some advice I have for future interns…
1. No two internships are the same
I’m completing my internship at NYU, but for the clinical portion of our rotations, my 12 co-interns and I were assigned various hospitals in the greater New York City area. Since each hospital has its own personality, each one of us has had a different experience.
To future interns: Be prepared to have an experience all your own, no matter what experiences or advice someone else tells you (including me in the rest of this post!). Approach each rotation with a clean slate and a fresh view. Let go of any pre-conceived notions you have or any lingering opinions from a previous rotation.
2. It gets easier…promise!
No matter how well equipped I
think know I was with clinical knowledge prior to starting my rotations, when faced with an intimidating audience, it’s as if you were asking me to solve the world’s energy crisis!
To future interns (and a good reminder for myself): BE CONFIDENT! You got this, and have worked your butt off to get to where you are! Werk it!
3. Thicken Up (no RD pun intended) your skin!
Hazing is known to be a part of many internships, even though I think it’s the WORST idea ever. What benefit does a preceptor get out of hazing you? I’m not so sure! It certainly didn’t make my experience any better, make me work any harder or help me respect you as a preceptor (again…#truth), but I learned it’s part of the training experience.
For future interns: You should know, hazing may be part of your day’s work, as unpleasant as it is!
4. You may not love what you’re doing…but that’s OK!
One thing a few other RDs told me was that there are SO many things you can do with your degree/credential, so don’t feel trapped in. I’ve been lucky to have so many great experiences in the field even before I started my internship, so I knew this and experienced it first hand, but it was a great reminder as I wasn’t loving some of my rotations.
Future interns… if you haven’t been exposed to the sheer depth of the field, I’m letting you know — your career path is only limited by your own imagination!
5. Never be afraid to ask a question
While there may never be a such thing as a dumb question, there’s a difference between an educated question and uneducated question.
Future interns: You can look up clinical guidelines yourself, but if you’re unsure of the logic behind your preceptor’s clinical judgment, ASK!
6. Take a step back and (try to) enjoy it.
As much as I complained (who me???) about working on a holiday or having to give (another) presentation or working for 12 un-paid hours straight some days, I learned a lot and the vast clinical experience I received is not lost on me.
For future interns: As much as you’re in the grind and will probably tire from it, remember that this is your training that builds the foundation for the rest of your career, no matter what aspect of dietetics and nutrition you go into.
7. Take time for yourself
As difficult as it may be to find even 30 minutes to hit the gym or prepare a healthy dinner after a long day or get dressed up for date night, I think it’s essential to still (try to) put yourself first, when possible. Sure, there were days I skipped lunch and left the hospital knowing I was beyyyond dehydrated or skipped my favorite workout class, but you NEED to make time to do what makes you happy outside of the internship to keep your sanity. To me, it was whipping up the quickest healthy dinners and going for a run…even if it was after a 12 hour day.
If you’re thinking of applying to a dietetic internship, I hope this gave you a realistic picture of what your internship days might be like! But remember…no two internships are the same! If you have any other questions, I’d love to hear from you!
So, was it all worth it?? ABSOLUTELY!
RD, here I come!