Part 1 of 6= Complete!
I spent the first 5 weeks of my dietetic internship doing my first part of my clinical rotation-at LBJ Hospital, Ben Taub, and Quentin Mease in Houston. They are all part of the The Harris County Hospital system, which serves over 1 million under and un-insured patients, each and every month. Harris County (which is all of Houston) is the 3rd most populated county in the US. It was a patient population I had thus far in my career, had no experience with. It was far more common to see Spanish speaking patients than English-speaking, and I've never seen fewer teeth in a ward. It was eye-opening to hear the stories of people with BMI's greater than 70 (normal is 18-22), triglyceride levels of 1500 (normal is <150), and Glucose levels through the roof.
I did my share of diabetes, renal failure, and heart disease educations, cramming in as much information as a 20 minute session could allow. I met people who hung on every word, sure I held the secret to their recovery, and people who found my talking more annoying than a mosquito. I consulted patients everyone from the wheel-chair bound paraplegic (drunk-driving accident), to pysch patients who said "the only thing to do here is eat", to mothers with gestational diabetes. I was part of interdisciplinary care teams, and went on wound care rounds (for the first and hopefully last time. There's a reason I didn't go to Medical school).I calculated tube feedings, advised renal, low sodium, and low cholesterol diets. I shuttered at the food that is served in the hospital cafeteria (nothing like chicken-fried steak, french fries and slurpees to "promote health").
Sometimes it could be a very sad place to work-seeing patients with a list longer than a page of aliments, people with broken homes, or uncertain living conditions. But it could also be a place of great love and great hope. I think my patients taught me way more than I taught them.
1 thing I do have to say: Scrubs are the most comfortable work attire ever.
Lululemon). I'm going to miss that.
I admire the hard work clinical dietitians do. They help heal their patients, and get them on their way to (what we hope is) a speedy recovery. And while I'm pretty sure it's not where you'll find me in a year, I do value their work.
Next: Wellness Rotation at Life Long Weigh- a private practice by a dietitian who believes in the power of whole, real foods. Can't wait!!!
For other dietetics students, my good friend and superstar RD-to-be, Carlene wrote a great post about facing the challenges during dietetic internships. Read it!