Hospital Rotations Lesson 4: Destination Competency

flickr photo from Digital Explorer
At 70 mph, the hospital rotations are flying by.  8 weeks ago I was standing in the parkling lot, my head filled with nutrition theories, my arms loaded with textbooks.  But then I stepped from the parking lot onto the hospital floors, and that's when the journey began.
On this road trip I picture myself in a red '94 Jeep Wrangler (oh how I miss this car), driving through the practical lessons of nutrition care in a hospital setting.  With 4 weeks left, I'm keeping my eyes on the final destination.  Destination Competency.

Two thoughts.  (Thankfully a blog is both a journal and an information space!)
1. Embrace the U-Turns
Four weeks ago I got pulled to the side of the road and gently informed that my performance on the hospital floors needed to improve.  In particular, I was mistakenly pushing myself to see more patients per day, but failing to properly tailor my nutrition notes for each individual's specific care.  Increased quantity, with decreased quality.  Yup, time for a U-turn.
I didn't cry in that meeting (although later I smeared a patient's medical chart with a few watery sniffles).  In reality, anyone can take a wrong turn, but we are thankful for the roadsigns that guide us.  A change of direction can be a blessing.
2. Drive Solo 
Sometimes I get distracted by the other cars on the road.  I compare myself to other grad students, med students, dietetic interns, and friends.  Although I love my trusty Jeep, it has a broken tapedeck and no air-conditioning; I get easily discouraged when flashy BMWs and cute mini-Coopers whiz by in the left lane.  "How come I'm such a slower learner?"  "I wish I was a witty communicator so that patiens would like me."   Hush hush.  This is when I repeat to myself:  "Girl, just learn what you are supposed to learn.  Be earnest, be wholehearted.  Be thankful for the opportunities God has given you.  Accept criticism, embrace the U-turns.  Keep your eyes on the destination, and chug ahead."
With this attitude, I'm free to take off the hard top (convertible!), turn up the music, and enjoy the ride.

Update: 4 weeks left of adult inpatient!  This week I'm finishing the General Medicine and Oncology/Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplant floors.  I absolutely loved these floors and will be sad to leave them.
New Read
Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
by Atul Gawande (author of Complications and The Checklist Manifesto)
published 2007
Insightful and amusing.  I'm enjoying a new understanding of insurance battles, a new appreciation of hand sanitizer pumps, and a new view of patients as human beings rather than a mere diagnosis.  
Check out Gawande's latest article in The New Yorker about the use of modern medicine in terminal illness.  This sobering article gives me new zeal as a future clinician!
Thanks for listening.
Happy Thursday,


Emily said...

I think you have a great perspective and attitude about learning. Not everyone learns at the same pace, but the important thing is that we do keep pressing on toward the goal. I'm sure that your very reputable hospital has very high expectations for its interns, and there must be a lot of pressure to succeed. But that is also what the internship is for....if we knew enough from undergrad studies, there would be no need for practical experience. :-)

Eunice @ Food4Fitness said...

It's hard to take criticism, especially when you're working so hard and trying to learn so much. I think you have a great attitude. Just learn what you have to learn and do it. I'll be reminding myself of this as I go through my internship. :)

Rachel said...

Emily, thank you always for your encouragement!

Rachel said...

and thank you Eunice!

alivaux said...

Gosh, Rachel. I am reading this at a time when I really needed it as the paper I have been working on at my internship was deemed "on the right track" on today, my supposed last day of internship...guess I will be back to work on it after my trip to CA. But it's just a flat tire, right? :)

MelindaRD said...

Ok, hang in there. I even had some crying episodes in my internship, so I am sure this is normal. I have been on both sides as the student and the preceptor, and it has to do with a communication error, so once it is discussed, things usually get on track.

Kara said...

Great insight! I have four wks left of my DI and I definitely have gone through the same obstacles. It sure is a learning experience :)

Kasey said...

You definitely have a wonderful attitude about learning and it sounds like your DI experience will be extremely valuable to your future career as a RD!

CINDYYIP said...

Great post.
Keep it up! You're going to be a great RD.
:) I hope you're doing well!!

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Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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