Dietetic Internship Week 1: Orientation

Garibaldi Lake
Garibaldi Lake: a beautiful hike prior to the start of internship.

The first week of my dietetics internship with Fraser Health Authority has wrapped up to a close. I am grateful for the reasonably paced start to these 39-weeks and the warm welcome from all the dietitians.

I don’t think I fully realized the differences between being a student compared to being an intern until I started internship. Immersed in a hospital environment, surrounded by patients, hospital staff, and family members, I recognize that my actions can directly influence others’ health and wellbeing. There’s also the expectation that I’ll start behaving and taking responsibilities like a professional as well.

In anticipation of new opportunities, I came up with a few principles that will hopefully facilitate personal and professional growth:

  • Stay humble. Although I will gain knowledge and experience throughout my internship, there’s something to be learned from every preceptor and every situation.
  • Be willing to change. Learning involves gaining new information and practices. Sometimes this will conflict with what I previously believed in or have done. Analyze the benefits and drawbacks of the old versus new, and adapt to the situation.
  • Take intentional action. I will make sure that my time allocations during internship is consistent with my short and long-term goals. This means figuring out what I want and focusing my energy to do it.
  • Set realistic expectations. I’m a learner: I will make mistakes, I will take a long time to do everything at first, I will be worse than other interns at some tasks, and I will feel frustrated / angry/ sad/ indignant at times. But when these things happen, look at them carefully again, adopt a long lens (how will I view this event in 5 years?), an inverse lens (how does the other party feel about this?), and a wide lens (how does this impact others around me?).
  • I am not alone. There are so many people who I can turn to for help and different types of support.  People are willing to help those who help themselves.
  • Take responsibility. Do everything in my power (and then some) to make sure I have a successful internship experience. Be willing to step out of my comfort/ lazy zone if it would benefit me in the long-term. Taking responsibility would involve everything from going to bed earlier so I’m focused throughout the day, to asking questions when I’m not understanding something, to addressing a non-functional relationship with my preceptor in a timely, honest, and constructive manner.
  • Practice ethical and patient-centred decision-making. Although I won’t be making any solo decisions during internship, I will keep in mind that as a future health care practitioner, I have an obligation to do what’s best for the patient under the given circumstances. I think a part of this is involving the patient (or appropriate next-of-kin) as much as possible in determining their care plan and respecting the patient’s wishes.
  • Make this time enjoyable. Keep a sense of humor throughout internship, make opportunities to get to know preceptors, fellow interns, and hospital staff.

I’m looking forward to making the most of this internship.

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