The Road to RDville: Shifting gears

Happy Monday! Last week was a phenomenal week in RDville. During my 10-week clinical rotation with UW Medicine, I’m doing three “mini” rotations. Last week was the smallest of the three, one week spent with my hospital’s two inpatient registered dietitian/certified diabetes educators.

Since I hope to become a CDE myself (I have a family history of type 2 diabetes, and that was one of the many factors that propelled my decision to become an RD), I soaked up every drop of learning like a sponge. I had ample opportunity to “observe and learn” as well as “do and learn.” I really like doing in depth patient education, which is one reason why I tend to prefer outpatient dietetics over inpatient. Last week felt like a nice hybrid of the two.
When I’m in a patient’s room, it may be with the intent of gathering certain information and presenting other information, but I never forget that they are a person, and not simply a collection of symptoms or health problems. We end up having nice conversations, and I manage to give and receive information in a way that works for each individual patient. I think it’s fair to say that I have a very good bedside manner, and it breaks my heart to clearly see in many patients the lingering aftermath of exposure to bad bedside manners and one too many “lectures” about what they should and should not be eating or doing (and the horrible complications that will develop if they don’t obey). Do you like to be told what to do as if you are a naughty child? Neither do I!
One of the highlights of the week came Thursday afternoon. I usually don’t check my e-mail during the day (interns aren’t supposed to carry cellphones or do any personal business on the computers), so I was  catching up on my inbox as I waited for the bus. I found out that I won not one, but two awards! I was named the Nutritional Sciences Outstanding Student by the faculty in my department, and I also was chosen as the Outstanding Student in Women’s Health by the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
I won’t lie, I’ve worked really really hard since Day 1 of my first prerequisite course (intro to general chemistry) back in September 2009. At first my goal was to learn as much as I could while getting the grades I needed to help make me an attractive grad school applicant. Once I made it into grad school, my goal was to work hard so I could learn as much as I could in order to become the best possible RD I could be. I wasn’t thinking about winning awards, but if my hard work makes people say, “Hey, she deserves this award!” then I am more than happy to accept! The recognition does feel good, especially on days when I wonder, “How much longer can I keep up this pace?” Fortunately, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
In other news, I am completely tortured that I’m not able to go to the Nutrition & Health Conference today through Wednesday (internship takes priority), but tonight I’m going with a few other students to see Michael Pollan speak at Benaroya Hall downtown. I can’t wait.