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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dietetic Internship: Staff Relief

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 38, 39, 40 (of 41)
Staff Relief: Weeks 38 - 40

Finally!  The last phase of the Dietetic Internship is upon me: Staff Relief.  For three weeks, I will take over full responsibilities for one Registered Dietitian role at the Memphis VAMC, manage her floors, her patients, set follow-up dates, and complete other required RD administrative duties.  I have to see at least six patients per day, preferably 8, regardless of complexity.  Historically I have met with my preceptor each morning for her to parse out my daily patients; now I will decide and manage all 60 or so beds and determine my own priorities.  This step is like moving into adulthood.  Finally.  Undoubtedly full of challenges, too.

Alas, I did it!  I saw a WIDE variety of patients with different nutritional needs:   Bowel obstructions, Gastric cancer surgery, sudden respiratory failure and progression to vegetative state, emergency guillotine amputations below the knee because of horrible diabetes management, little old men that refuse to eat, pancreatitis, inguinal hernia repairs, and malnutrition.  I accompanied a cardiopulmonologist to the ER to watch him perform an emergency intubation.  NOTE: That is NOT a delicate procedure!  I watched a left and right cardiac catheterization (not part of RD duties, just interesting!).  I visited daily the sweetest 71-year old man w/ Parkinson’s disease that had severe GI issues and required total parenteral nutrition; he made my heart pour out with happiness and sadness simultaneously.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Specialty 2-week rotation to Florida!

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 36 & 37 (of 41)
Alternative / Specialty rotation in Gainesville, FL: Weeks 36 & 37

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Florida I go!  My Dietetic Internship included a 2-week “Alternative / Specialty” rotation at a facility outside of the Memphis VA Medical Center.  It is the intern’s responsibility to seek out the location, find the contact information, and secure this bond.  What. A. Chore!  I wrote, I contacted, I searched for names, numbers, friends or family with whom I could stay for two weeks.  Honestly, it was all a bit stressful and at one point, I questioned why I was not just looking around Memphis and consequently happily sleeping in my own bed.  BUT.  My Internship Director kept telling us that often individuals find full-time employment at their Alternative Rotation site, and I wanted to make a thoughtful decision. 

Oak tree canopy
After a lot of contacts, I very happily secured a contract with the Gainesville, Florida VA Medical Center.  A long time ago (when I was a student at the great University of Florida), I made best friends-that-became-my-family in High Springs, FL, about 25 miles away from the hospital in Gainesville.  They accepted me for two weeks, as well as the VAMC.  Done!  Next step:  Drive.  It is a LONG way from Memphis to Gainesville, specifically nearly 700 miles!