Dietetic Internship · Life · Topic of the Week

7 Things I Learned As A Dietetic Intern

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I’ve been slacking…I meant to write this post right after ending the internship. 

My laziness has gotten the best of me. Not to mention that starting a new job is EXHAUSTING! 

Anyways, looking back on the internship I’m realizing there was a lot that I learned that would have been helpful to know beforehand and I thought it would be worth pulling together a post solely dedicated to that topic. 

I know internships are different depending on where you go, but I think there are some things that can be applied no matter where you’re interning.

1) Dietetic internships are a learning experience. At the beginning of my internship I know everyone was struggling to complete study guides and try to review as much as they could. I was no different. It may sound silly, but I think it really took a while for it to sink in that you are in an internship to learn and in order to learn you can’t start by knowing everything. Dietetic internships are intense and interns are held to very high standards, but it’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. Start the internship as prepared as you can be but remember that you are supposed to be learning. 

2) You will never have a routine. By nature, internships don’t really allow yourself to establish a routine. I went into mine thinking I would have some kind of routine but that ended up not being the case at all, which honestly stressed me out a bit. Maybe you’ll have a routine for a month or so, but then it will switch. Being a dietetic intern is all about being adaptable, that is for sure!

3) You’ll feel like you’re starting a new job every time you start a new rotation. You’ll be learning your way around new facilities, meeting new people, trying to establish relationships with new preceptors, completing new projects, attempting to blend in to the day to day routine, and as soon as you feel confident and know what you’re doing….you’ll switch rotation sites. Don’t let it stress you out, just go with the flow. 

4) Ask questions, take notes, gather handouts/resources whenever possible. As I said above, this is a learning experience. Ask questions when you think of them, write things down that you’re learning, ask if you can keep copies of handouts/resources that you’re shown by preceptors…do everything you can to assure that you don’t leave your rotations without at least some record of what you learned. 

5) If you want to include a specific experience in your internship, ask. It took me way to long to realize that it is okay to ask if you can see/experience certain things. The interns in my internship were split up between 2 hospitals and at one hospital the interns got to watch NG tube placements but where I was we didn’t…so I asked if I could watch one. Of course they said yes and I was able to watch the placement and learn a LOT. If you want to see something, ask. The worst you can get is no for an answer. 

6) Send thank you notes to your preceptors. I didn’t even think about doing this until I was at my third rotation and noticed that my preceptor had a thank you note from one of the other interns. Immediately, I started sending them after completing rotations and I realized how important it really is. I had to use quite a few preceptors as references when I applied for my job and it was nice to know I had fully articulated to them how much I appreciated them taking the time to teach me. 

7) The internship is not forever. I think everyone reaches the point in the internship where they are just plain worn out and tired. It’s hard going to multiple rotation sites, it’s hard not getting paid and feeling like you’re working for free, it’s hard to always feel like you don’t know enough, but it’s not forever. Unless you’re doing an MS DI, your internship is probably somewhere between 6-12 months long. It’ll be over before you know it, trust me! 

I know I probably learned a lot more in the 9.5 months that I was in my internship…but this is all I can think of now! 

Happy Friday, enjoy you’re weekend 🙂

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