Dietetic Internship · Life · Topic of the Week

7 Things I Learned As A Dietetic Intern


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 🙂

Clinical Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 38 Recap


I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but….I’M DONE WITH MY DIETETIC INTERNSHIP!!!!

I literally cannot believe this moment has finally arrived.  I woke up on Friday morning and it felt like Christmas morning, I was so excited! Finishing this internship was also ten times better than finishing a school year, or even college in general, because there are NO FINALS! All I had to do was show up, work a full day, and I was done!

This week was a rollercoaster, just like all the other weeks. I was doing my second week of clinical staff relief at the same city hospital that I did my 10 week clinical rotation at.  Monday was a little more insane than usual because I had to fit in an hour and a half appointment to fill out new hire paperwork and do my drug test, etc.

That’s right….I’m going to be working at the hospital I was interning at!

I was offered the job about 6 weeks ago, but until recently all I really had was a contingent job offer. I completed all my requirements for employment there and now that I’ve finished the internship the job offer is officially official.

It really threw a monkey wrench into my Monday to have to take time to complete all of those appointments, but luckily my awesome preceptor was there to take some of my patients for me.

I know I still have a long ways to go and I have so much to learn, but I feel really confident that I’ll be a successful dietitian at the hospital. The team of dietitians there is so incredibly supportive and caring that I know I’ll be well taken care of while I’m training.

I’m not sure what exactly I’m allowed to call myself during this awkward inbetween period. I signed a paper from the Commission of Dietetics Registration that says I won’t call myself “Registered Dietitian Eligible” and I know I’m not really supposed to call myself just a “dietitian” so hopefully my new boss can provide me some direction with that!

I don’t start working until July 14 so I get a two week break before I jump head first into a job! I’ll essentially be scheduled per diem, but I’ll be training full time and likely will be taking my test shortly after my training period, since it’ll probably be around 6 weeks. So all my plans about being able to study full time this summer to prepare are gone!

I’m driving home tomorrow and I’ve loaded up the Inman’s Review Course CDs onto my phone to listen to while I drive. I have intentionally not been studying at all because I was overwhelmed enough with the internship and staff relief, so it’s kind of scary to realize now is the time that I actually have to start studying and I can’t avoid it any longer.

Immediately after finishing up at the hospital on Friday I drove down to Eugene to meet up with one of the other interns and we took off to the coast to meet up with three of the other interns for a camping trip! It wasn’t real camping because we stayed in a yurt and therefore had electricity and real beds, but after an exhausting week it was close enough to camping for me!


The weather ended up not being half bad. It absolutely poured on Friday night but then after that it cleared up on Saturday and we even got some sunshine in the afternoon! It was a really fun trip but I am beyond exhausted now. I got home a little before 1 this afternoon and it’s taken so much effort to unpack and do laundry and deal with all of that. I also have to pack again for 2 weeks at home. I’ll be making the 10 hour drive tomorrow morning!

Now that I’m done with the internship I’m not sure what the blog is going to turn into, but I’ll post while I’m home with my next plan for this site!

Clinical Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 37 Recap


Well, I can officially say that I survived my first week of clinical staff relief! It was the most exhausting week I think I’ve ever had as an intern but it was so great to know that I am capable of being a dietitian and I really have come such a long way this year.

I got to the hospital at 7 AM on Monday morning and immediately felt very overwhelmed.  The hospital I’m at has 6 RD positions and for staff relief each of us interns get assigned a position to cover.  I’m “RD5” for these two weeks, meaning I cover the med tele floor, inpatient rehab, and general surgery. I’m really thankful that I spent my 10 weeks at the hospital so late in the year because I didn’t need a refresher on how to screen my area for patients and I was aware of some of the major changes that have been made with the work flow of the positions.

I started by screening my area and realized that not only did I have quite a few patients on my list (I had around 10 every day this week), but a few of them were VERY messy patients, meaning I would need to spend some time on them.  One of them was even a possible TPN which nearly put my anxiety over the edge.

Don’t worry though, I survived 🙂

Although we were covering areas, the dietitians that normally work those positions were there and available as resources.  When I was there strictly as an intern I asked a lot of questions without putting that much thought in beforehand.  This time I tried to take a different approach and I really thought about things before I would ask a question.

By the end of the week I really feel like I got settled in and I know next week will go a lot more smoothly.  I’m actually kind of glad I had such complicated patients this week because it was good to have to work through those scenarios but to still have a preceptor there to guide me.  All our notes still have to be cosigned and I did have changes made to about half of mine, but I think my notes improved as the week went on.

Another huge accomplishment: I finished on time every day! I think this is especially important because I need to know I can step into a clinical dietitian position and be able to handle the workload and not have my employer on my case about overtime.

Last night, after an exhausting week, we got to celebrate with a little graduation reception.  Unfortunately, most of the preceptors didn’t show up, but I had a lot of fun with the interns and some of their boyfriends/husbands.  Plus our director was there and she is one of the most entertaining people I’ve ever met.

We all gave each other little awards and I got the one above.  Future interns out there: this is an excellent idea for an end of the year get together! We all nominated each other for awards (we had no guidelines so some of the nominations were hilarious) and then had a voting process. At our last class day we all drew names out of a hat and that was our intern that we had to create an award for. It was all a secret so yesterday we presented each other with our awards and a little gift and we spent the entire time cracking up. We read all the nominations before we presented the awards so that made it even better.

I can’t believe I only have a week left! My post wrapping up the internship will be a little delayed since all of us interns, minus 2 who can’t make it, are going on a little beach trip starting immediately after we finish on Friday.  I am really looking forward to it because this has been an insane 10 months! After that I’m headed down to California for a little two week vacation to visit my family.

So many exciting things on the horizon!!!!

Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 36 Recap


If there is one quote that can sum up my time as an intern, this is it.

I had a great week of staff relief back at the nursing center I was at in November.  The dietitian out there is absolutely phenomenal and someone I aspire to be like when I am practicing as a dietitian.  She is also an incredible preceptor and I feel like it was really beneficial for me to spend another week with her.  She really just let me loose and didn’t hold my hand at all, which I think is the best way to learn at this stage of my education.

Today was a little nuts, in more than one way, but for the first time I truly felt confident in my ability to handle whatever came my way.  My preceptor left around 10:45 because her kids were getting out of school super early for their last day of the school year.  I thought I had everything under control when she left.  I had 3 assessments in the short stay unit to do and 4 quarterly focus notes to write for meetings that afternoon in one of the long term units. All was fine and dandy until all hell broke loose. I won’t go into details of the scenario, but I found myself in the care management RNs office while she was on the phone with a resident’s doctor trying to get a sticky situation straightened out.  It was going to require my assistance in some way or another and I was listening in to find out what I would need to do.

I had a moment of panic when I realized my preceptor was gone but as soon as I got talking with the RN I realized I was completely capable of doing whatever she needed me to do. When it was decided that I would do an assessment note I had no hesitation in my recommendations and knew that it would be something my preceptor would agree with.  In fact I called her to make sure that was the case before I filed it.

It’s moments like that where I truly appreciate being involved in the team aspect of patient care.  It’s nice to have the respect of other health professionals and have them realize the value of dietitians.

Because that is not always the case.

Going back to the quote above, I receive a large amount of criticism on almost a daily basis.  Sometimes it is from preceptors guiding me and helping me learn, sometimes it’s from patients who have no interest in speaking to a dietitian, sometimes it’s from friends who have their own opinions of the career path I’ve chosen, and sometimes it’s people who literally just don’t know what the heck they are talking about.

Today I received a very large amount of criticism.  Usually I just let it go, but today was a little bit more than I’m used to and a lot of it wasn’t presented in a really pleasant way.  I have always been pretty good at reminding myself that the worst thing you can do with criticism is take it personally but today it really stung.  Today it took a lot of thinking to help me realize how I take that criticism seriously and use it to make some positive changes.

I had someone who should know better tell me it was “unfortunate that dietitians are stuck 25 years in the past when it comes to research.”  Honestly, this woman just didn’t know what she was talking about and it makes me wonder what kind of dietitians she’s interacted with lately that would make her say that.

Let me clear this up, we’re not stuck 25 years in the past.  I get a journal mailed to me every month that is full of the newest research in nutrition and dietetics.  As easy as it would have been to just brush it off as “this woman has no idea what she’s talking about” it made me realize that it really is super important for dietetics to be evidence based.  Every recommendation we make should always be backed up by research so when someone questions it there is an explanation that is valid.  Of course that won’t solve all the problems, because some people will believe what they want to believe regardless, but it’s important.

I also had someone tell me that most people view dietitians as focusing too much on micronutrients and not enough on food.  My first thought after hearing this was “90% of the people I talk to as a dietetic intern have no idea what a dietitian is, so I double most people think that” but after asking for some elaboration I realized this comment goes in line with a lot of comments I hear from dietitians.  Consumer messages need to be easy to understand.  Yes, a large amount of nutrition research focuses on micronutrients because there is an growing awareness of their role in health.  Nutrition is an incredibly young science compared to sciences like physics, biology, and chemistry.  A few decades ago we didn’t even know all the vitamins!

We are literally learning more every day about the role of micronutrients in health so it is very true that a lot of research focuses on that.  The hard part is that the consumer gets bombarded with all these new research findings, many of which are just preliminary findings or based off one study and then when things change because research has continued, nutrition gets criticism.

If you want the focus to be on food, here’s the message I have: eat real food.

Simple as that, right?

Wrong. Dietetics is so much more than food. If we just focused on food we would have to place in healthcare.

What this piece of criticism made me realize is that dietitians really have to promote their skill set and make it known that our training gives us the ability to do so many things.

It’s also made me realize that I’m going to have to learn to not take it personally, especially when these broad statements are made, because neither one of these people were making any reference to the work I do on a daily basis or the contribution I make as a dietetic intern and future dietitian.

It makes me even more passionate about the career I have chosen and even more determined to make sure every single interaction where I am representing dietetics leaves those I’m interacting with feeling good about dietitians, not feeling like they need to criticize them.

Breakfast · Dietetic Internship · Life · Running · Weekly Recap

Week 35 Recap



Can you tell I’m excited to be nearing the end of this program??

It’s not because I don’t enjoy it or because I don’t like my internship, I’m just ready to be done.  I’m ready for a break and I’m ready to start working and take my test and start moving forward with life!

This week was very similar to last week.  I did a lot of data entry and it was extremely relaxed and low key.  It was such a nice break from the intensity of the rest of the internship but at the same time it just had me counting down the days even more since I could practically taste summer on the horizon.  The weather has been so nice here and it makes me want to be outside all the time.

I planted my garden recently so it has become part of my routine to go down to it after I get home and give it a good watering.  The soil was incredibly dry when I planted so I’ve been trying extra hard to give it some moisture!  All of my plants have survived so far and are getting bigger, which I’m really excited about!

Yesterday was our last class day ever, which seems like it can’t possibly be true.  We talked a little about preparing for the RD exam but since that’s been a topic of many discussions through out the year and all of us have study materials already, we didn’t focus too much on that.  We did get the paperwork all filled out for our tests though so once we finish our director can sign them, scan them, and submit them electronically.  We’ve been told it’ll be 8-10 weeks before we can test so either late August- early to mid September.

I can guarantee there will be posts in the future that detail my studying. I chose to purchase the 2014 Inman’s Review and even though it practically cost me an arm and a leg I think it was worth it for me since I won’t feel like I am missing out on one of the best study programs out there.

Yesterday I was also able to submit my intern portfolio that my program director will need in the future for accreditation.  It’s essentially just extra proof that there are specific objectives assigned for us interns to complete and that I did complete them.  It didn’t take much effort to pull it together since I’ve been keeping up with it during the year but it still feels great to have it done!


Yesterday, after getting out of class, I got a notification on my door saying I had a package at the apartment office.  My dad got me a Buster Posey jersey!!!!!  I have been wanting a Giants jersey for the longest time and I am beyond excited to finally have one!  I’ll be home for two weeks in July so I’m already trying to find a time to go to a game with my brother.


Last night I also did the Neon Night 5k on campus that was supporting the YMCA.  It started around 9:15, just as the last daylight was fading, and went through the Oregon State campus.  They did a fantastic job of lighting the course with glow sticks and making sure there were volunteers directing everyone.

I haven’t run a timed 5k since college so I decided to run it even though I had friends walking it.  I’ve been battling foot pain that appears to be tendonitis so I was a little nervous to give it my all during the run.  Thankfully, this week the pain has been significantly better and I had no problem with pain during the run.

The run had a large amount of walkers, so by about 1/2 mile in I found myself near the front of the pack.  After running competitively in high school when I get into a race situation I can’t help but try to beat everyone around me.  I had a ton of fun because I knew it was only a 5k and I could go all out without burning out, so I let myself get a little competitive with the runners around me.

I finished 20th overall, which just proves there weren’t a lot of runners, and my time was 27:00, or a 8:43 mile split time.  My fastest 5k time in high school was 24:06 and I distinctly remember hitting the first mile during that race and my first mile time being 6:32.  I remember it so clearly because that was way too fast for me during a 5k and I slowed down after it.  It makes me laugh because I thought I was so slow in high school just because I wasn’t the fastest girl on the team.  I wish I could go back to that discouraged, 17 year old version of myself and tell her “you will never be this fast again, enjoy it!”

My 24 year old body just can’t run as fast as my 17 year old body could!


Today started off with a large cup of coffee, since I went to bed around 11:30 last night since the race went so late.  Then I made myself this delicious veggie filled breakfast and ventured out to the farmer’s market.  I was happy to see that the produce is finally in full swing and there was loads to choose from at the farmer’s market!

I walked away with a pint of strawberries, a pint of sugar snap peas, a bunch of radishes, and a bunch of sweet pea flowers. I absolutely despise raw radishes but I’ve been told that you can roast them and that they take on a whole new flavor, so I’m excited to try them!

Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather!

Dietetic Internship · Weekly Recap

Week 34 Recap


This week was week 1 of my 2 weeks on campus and it was honestly so uneventful that I debated whether or not I should even right a post about it.  I’ve never missed a week though so I figured I would finish strong with a brief little blurb about what I’ve been up to.

Since Monday was a holiday I started on campus on Tuesday. I got there with no idea what I was really going to be working on and within an hour I was immersed into one of the research projects my internship director is working on.

All I’m really doing is entering data into a massive spreadsheet that they’re going to put into their statistic program and it’ll give them all sorts of statistics from the data that I entered.

One of the required freshman health classes requires their students to fill out a 3 day food log as part of a project so we’ve been using those to record when during the day students eat, what they identify those meals as (ie breakfast, lunch, etc) and what foods groups those meals contain.

It’s super repetitive but it’s interesting.  I love being back on campus and I’m with another intern so I have someone to keep me entertained.  Plus I got to work from home on Friday which was a great bonus.  I didn’t get as much done as I should have but oh well…I’ve still got 4 days to get all the data entered and I know it won’t take me that long.

I only have 4 more weeks left in the internship!

Hopefully I’ll have a more eventful week next week to tell you about!

Clinical Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 33 Recap


Week 33 is done and my 10 weeks at the city hospital are over!

Let me tell you, nothing this week went as I planned it would. Nothing.

I woke up on Monday morning with a full blown cold, not just a sore throat or some other indication that I was getting sick, a full blown cold.  I absolutely freaked out on Monday morning when I realized I was sick because my case study was this week and I felt like I still had a lot left to prepare for it.

I was back in ICU this week with a different dietitian and we were also responsible for the Cardiovascular Care Unit (CVCU).  My previous experience in ICU made me think that it was going to be a busy week and since I wasn’t feeling 100% I was nervous.  Thankfully, it was the slowest week we had since I started there in March and I actually got to leave early every day.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have kept up with my normal social activities this week.  I just have the hardest time saying “Sorry guys, I’m sick,” when I just have a cold.  I also know that if I’m not feeling well the best thing I can do is distract myself but often times that leads me to feel even more exhausted later.

By the time Thursday rolled around I still had a full blown cold and I had to give my case study presentation at the RD/DTR meeting after lunch.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like every time I give a presentation I just totally black out and have no recollection of what actually happened during the presentation.  Almost everyone had really great reactions to the presentation so I knew I had done something right!

I literally cannot believe I pulled it off being so sick.  The group of RDs and DTRs that I had the chance to work with were all so incredibly supportive and I felt very comfortable giving my presentation to them.  One of the DTRs even told me today that I didn’t seem like an intern giving a huge presentation to them, I just seemed like another RD presenting some useful information I had found.

Best. Compliment. Ever!

I’m so excited that I will be back at the hospital for 2 weeks of staff relief!  I think it really hit me today that even though I have learned an incredible amount in the last 10 weeks I still have so much more to learn!  I have my RD exam study guide and I’m going to bust it out soon and really get serious about learning what I know I don’t know.

Since it’s a 3 day weekend I plan on relaxing and letting my body heal.  I have totally fallen off the exercise wagon, for obvious reasons, so I’m hoping to get in some kind of mild, low intensity workout tomorrow since I won’t have work.  As someone who really relies on working out 3-4 times a week both for weight maintenance and energy, this week has been really hard.  Obviously rest has been necessary this week but I’ve found myself just laying around so much doing nothing and more than once I thought “I could be at the gym right now if I felt better.”

I guess I learned this week that I really do like going to the gym and I enjoy working out a lot.  Part of that might be that it’s the only time I allow myself to read for fun on my Kindle, but I have to find motivation somehow 🙂

Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful 3 day weekend! I have watching Frozen on my agenda (since I still haven’t seen it!) and trying to work my way through the pile of magazines that has accumulated that I haven’t had time to read.

Fingers crossed I wake up feeling better tomorrow!