7 Things to Remember During Your Dietetic Internship

7 Things to Remember During Your Dietetic Internship | Food & Nutrition | Student Scoop
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During your internship, it can be easy to get caught up in the end goal: finishing the program and starting your career. However, it is important to stay focused on the internship so you can make steps towards your end goal while getting the most out of your experience. Here are some tips that will you to do just that!

Stay organized

During your dietetic internship, you may have a variety of different meetings to attend, projects to submit and patients you have to see all during your work week. It’s easy to lose track of the different tasks you may have to accomplish in order to complete your internship. The best thing to remember is to keep yourself organized. Use online calendars, phone alerts, colored markers, planners, or whatever else you may need to stay on top of all of your responsibilities. This will lighten the load and help you have a less stressful experience.

Mistakes are acceptable

Everything about this experience will be new for you. Transitioning from case studies to real hospital patients can sometimes be overwhelming. This is the time for you to make mistakes, and it’s absolutely acceptable. All of your rotations are to help you learn about the field of dietetics and expose you to many different opportunities and scenarios. Sometimes you won’t be completely confident in how to handle a situation, but take the experience, learn from it and keep going. It’s all part of the internship program.

Ask many questions

Your preceptor is there to guide you in any way that they can. Asking questions will help give you a better understanding of some of the areas of practice. They want you to succeed just as much as you want to. Don’t be afraid to ask them about the field you are working in if you are unsure how to handle a scenario. This is how you learn!

Stay up to date on health trends

There’s always a new trend on the internet that a patient may ask you about. Be sure to keep up on some of these new health topics so you know how to answer some of their questions. The field of nutrition is always changing, but it will certainly be helpful to know what a person may be exposed to in terms of health. If you are unsure when they ask you, don’t be afraid to say you are unfamiliar with the topic. Being honest is the best way to handle it.

Find a stress relieving activity

The work required during your internship may lead you to having a few days where you feel overwhelmed. Find a healthy outlet that could help you escape from all the assignments. Go to a gym, read a book or find a good recipe to make. Anything that can help you with relieving some of those stressful days will definitely be beneficial to you.

Continue to network for the future

Being an intern gives you a lot of exposure to different people and occupations in the field. Don’t be afraid to touch base with the different dietitians, health professionals and managers you may meet along the way. Express to them your future interests and see if they have any guidance they could offer you. Keep building new relationships to help with future career opportunities or even for any guidance you may need during your career.

Enjoy this experience

You have prepared yourself with completing your undergraduate career, building up experience to create your applications and attended many interviews to get where you are now. Take the time to reflect on your journey and realize that this is the best learning experience to prepare you as a future registered dietitian nutritionist. Enjoy these moments while you can and be proud of what you have accomplished so far. The dietetic internship will all be worth it!

At the end of the day, this internship works to prepare you for your future career. It is important to put your best effort into it and enjoy the experience while you have it.

Alyssa Thomas
Alyssa is a dietetic intern at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor's degree in nutrition in dietetics at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.