I asked to complete an additional week of inpatient care, remember, you’re in control of what you get out of the program. Before I completed my PICU I was unsure of my inpatient skills, so in the end I probably didn’t need it but I had fun anyway. Although there were some problems, my account was locked because it was set to expire the week before and did not get changed over, and I was terribly sick for the last two days.
The dietitian I was with this week was amazing, she follows three services, two of which round at the same time. Additionally, because this is just a general pediatric rotation, the injury and illness vary greatly. My biggest take away this week but just being fun, nice, and personable with the patients at the bedside. It is not always about going through the questions you have to ask but really building a relationship with the patient.
I completed my staff relief rotation in the same clinic I started in, a failure to thrive clinic that help parents in multiple ways to support the growth of children. I enjoyed this clinic from the beginning, but during my staff relief I really grew to love it. I got to work with an amazing team that supported me in my learning and offered constructive criticism to make me a better dietitian in the future.
My staff relief lasted about three weeks, and every day I learned something new. In this particular clinic there is a lot going on and there is a lot to dig through to get to the root problem that needs to be fixed. Sometimes this is a parenting problem and sometimes there is a problem with the patient that requires more intensive measures, like a feeding tube.
Most of the patients I saw were under 5 years old, but it is crucial to gather as much information about their feeding history as possible. Which means you need to go back to their feeding habits at birth. Sometimes this is easy, if they’re only a few months old, but the older they are the harder it gets and you have so much information to cipher through. Being on your toes and always having a follow up question was challenging, but by the end of my time I was finally getting the hang of it!
New patients were scheduled for a two hour appointment and follow up visits were one hour time slots. This is a rare thing when it comes to nutrition, but so lucky because it can take so long to get to the source problem. It also gives you a chance to really listen to the families and what their needs are, as well as collaborate with the other members of the team. So I might only see four to six patient a day, but it pretty much takes the whole day, plus you have to find time to chart such extensive histories. However, I will mention that my charting drastically improved from my first few weeks.
In the end, this clinic ended up being extremely important to me, because you have the unique chance to catch families with children at a young age and influence their nutrition habits that could last a lifetime. This is one of the reason I want to be a dietitian in the first place; to have a lasting impact on the health of our population. Don’t get me wrong, not all families want help or even acknowledge that their child has a problem, but kids are so vulnerable at this age and poor growth can set them up for a life time of problems. I’m so incredibly lucky that I was able to be a part of this.
Now that my clinical rotation is over I have a better feeling of direction going forward in my career. There really wasn’t a practice area that I didn’t like, however, my favorites were in the PICU, the failure to thrive clinic, and GI. If I could do what ever I wanted today, I think I would love to work as the resident dietitian in a family practice, where you get to see a variety of patients and a variety of diseases. My next choice would be to work in a gastroenterology clinic where I can work with patients to create tailored diets that help them live their best life. I won’t lie though, if someone offered me a job in the PICU I would take it in a heart beat. Of course, you don’t always get your dream job right out of school and sometimes you have to go create the job you want, but if I could do anything, those top my list!