After 10 months of interning and a total of around 1260 documented interning hours, I have officially completed my dietetic internship and the 1200 hr requirement to be eligible for the RD exam. To finish my dietetic internship program, I have one last final to take before Wed and several documents to sign in order to receive my statement allowing me to register for the RD exam. Although the final is timed at 2 hours, has close to 200 questions and counts for 90% of my final grade, I am feeling really confident about successfully passing my internship.
Somehow, everything clicked this week. On Tues morning I was super nervous to be on the post-op floor, considering that I would need to put the past 12 weeks of interning to the test. Seeing patients with all types of surgeries, procedures and conditions, it was a big confidence-booster for me to feel comfortable assessing and following my patients. Amazingly, my 10-hour days went by super fast and it was often sad to think that it would all come to an end today. My calculator saw a lot of action with 3 TPN patients on my floor and at least 2 tube fed patients a day to assess or follow. I had a few diet educations to give and today I was asked to stop what I was doing in order to write an order for a pt was just had jaw wiring surgery and recently had a PEG. The patient was about to be discharged and they couldn't leave until I wrote my recommendation for tube feeding (rate and formula) and how to bolus the feeds for home. I have never felt so important when it comes to using my nutrition education and it feels so good to help so many people in an acute care setting.
What I find so interesting about my "job" as a clinical dietitian is that I never know what the day will bring. I never know the difficulty of my cases and there is always something new to learn. Sometimes the case load looks light and then I get a few complicated cases (like today) which require extra time and devotion. Sometimes you get a patient that is a bit on the rude side and just wants to go home and sometimes you get a patient who is well in his/her 90's and is sweet as can be.
I never thought that I would say this but I don't want to stop what I am doing. Because I will soon be eligible for the RD exam, I plan to apply for jobs as a clinical dietitian. Although my long term career goals are set in the industry of fitness/exercise and sports nutrition, I believe that continuing my learning in an acute care setting will only make me a better coach, sports dietitian and athlete. I have learned a tremendous amount about the human body and I plan to use my RD credential to the fullest. I am proud to soon be among the fantastic group individuals who are qualified to treat and prevent disease and provide medical nutrition therapy. Although this journey has been long, intense and demanding, I am proud to be a future RD!!!