My RD Journey

From Undergrad -> Internship -> RD -> Private Practice!

Beginning of Staff Relief

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T minus 6 weeks and 4 days until I am done my internship! 1 week and 4 days until I move to a new rotation!

This week, I started my staff relief at my inpatient rotation. It was kind of crazy the way everything panned out. Last week, I was still with the RDs, only seeing about 4-5 patients on my own. While it was great to be with the RD in the beginning, it was tough bouncing between 2 RDs and their styles of teaching. I really wanted to find what worked best for me (while including all the necessary components of a good assessment/education). I brought my concerns up to my preceptor and discussed with her what my staff relief entailed. I was really glad that I spoke up and talked to her.

Today, I came in and was handed 17 patients to see on my own. I really felt like I went from 0 to 100!  I felt a little overwhelmed as I started to look through the patient sheets. I had 2 initial visits, 15 follow-ups, a low-fiber/weight-loss education, a TPN, and 17 charts to do on my own. As I started to work through the patients, I began to “chill-out” and go with the flow. I knew I would have the time to see everyone and I just needed to have confidence in myself that I was ready to do this.

My first day of staff relief went really awesome. I got everyone done and had 1.5 hours to work on my own assignments. There were 2 patients I saw today that really touched me. The first patient was  consult for low fiber education/weight-loss. She was very interested and asked me a ton of questions! I was nervous at first, because I kept thinking she would ask me something I didn’t know and I would look really dumb. Once I started to talk to her, however, the answers just came pouring out. I ended up spending about 45 minutes with this patient and I didn’t even realize it. One of the best things about the visit, was what she said at the end: “You are really good at what you do. I really appreciate all the time you spent explaining everything to me. I wish you so much luck in finishing your internship.” The second patient I saw had colon cancer. She was the most lively, elderly lady I have seen in a while. She was very informed about nutrition and was telling me about her journey as an RN in her past years. At the end of the visit, she had asked me for my number so she could call with questions about her nutrition. I explained to her that I was only an intern, didn’t have my own card, and would give her a card for the RDs at the hospital. Her response to that really made me smile: “You are not just an intern, so don’t say that.”

One of the things I liked best about staff relief, was being able to really connect with the patient. I loved spending time with them and not having to rush through a visit because I was working with someone else. I also loved being more of an authority figure. Sometimes, when I was with the RD, I would do the talking and educating, yet some patients would ignore me and talk to the RD. It was a way different ball field being alone!

Some of my favorite/interesting/funny patients of last week and today were:
1. An autistic, elderly patient who aspirated a tooth into his lung (and I got to see it on the x-ray!).
2. A patient who overdosed on a gallon of antifreeze. I don’t know about you, but I wondered how anyone could get it down! Well, I googled it and found that antifreeze has a sweet taste (some companies are making “less sweet” versions to deter kids from drinking it)…go figure.
3. A type 1 diabetic who ran out of insulin, so ended up in diabetic ketoacidosis. She then tried to sign herself out of the hospital, with no more insulin at home.
4. A patient, in his 40s, who fell asleep mid-conversation with me.
5. An 88-year old woman who decided to jump out her bedroom window, thus breaking her femur.
6. A patient who stops breathing (they had to call code blue 2-3x on this guy) every time he falls asleep.

No matter what the day is, there is always someone/something interesting going on at the hospital!

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Author: PorrazzaNutrition

Hi there! My name is Felicia Porrazza and I am a registered and licensed dietitian with a Masters in Dietetics Administration. I started PorrazzaNutrition to share my knowledge and passion for nutrition with others. I am a traveling dietitian conducting in-home and out-of-home counseling and cooking sessions. I am dedicated to working with clients to help them reach their health goals. I believe healthy eating is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Contact me to get started on your nutrition journey!

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