It's hard to believe that this week was the last week of my clinical rotation. It's hard to believe that today was the last day. It feels as though no time has passed between taking my first step in the hospital door, only having a slight idea of what clinical dietetics meant, and now, leaving the hospital for the last time capable of functioning as an entry level clinical dietitian. Since that first day I have seen, heard, experienced and learnt so much. I can now do TPN calculations without even thinking. I don't need my little yellow sticky note to remember what to ask patients when I assess them for the first time. I can write a follow-up progress note. I can converse confidently with patients about cardiac, diabetic, and renal diets. And I am no longer scared to track down a nurse to ask about my patient. I feel like I finally fit into the hospital scene.
Next week will be different. I no longer have to wake up at 5am to be at the hospital by 7. I won't get to spend time with the clinical dietitians. I won't get to hear their stories and discuss our always entertaining patients. I won't get to read patient charts to learn their history. I won't have to avoid the medical group as they do their rounds and take over the nurse's station. I won't get to use my Spanish to interview patients. I won't get to be a part of the hum drum of the hospital atmosphere. Instead I get four weeks of vacation; I guess I can't really complain.
I've always been advised by other Registered Dietitians that it is best to start out as a clinical dietitian to get broad exposure to different disease states. It's been in my career plan for the past two years, but now I know what being a clinical dietitian really means. More importantly I know that even though it's not my passion, clinical dietetics is interesting and appealing to me for a short term career. I no longer see it as "two years of work experience I have to grin and bear", clinical dietetics holds its own challenges and opportunities for me to grow and learn even more about how nutrition applies to the disease process. I guess now I understand why it's an important background to have.
Next on my plate is my administrative rotation. New hospital, new staff, new experience. It starts in January. But for now, I can relax and enjoy being an adventurous twenty-something.