It has officially been three days into my Dietetic Internship at Texas A&M University and I am beyond excited that I started my nutrition rotations within the clinical setting. During the next nine short months, I will grow both in knowledge and as a person as I experience what it takes to become a Registered Dietitian. I will be visiting with outpatients, inpatients, ICU patients, homebound patients and many other people who need professional nutrition support and assessment. Many people have no idea what Dietitians must go through in order to become licensed and able to practice. That is why I want to explain to y’all what this is all about and why I chose to go this route.
After I had learned of my food allergy to soybean and the dramatic turn my life took, I couldn’t stop myself from becoming so involved in nutrition. I wanted to know everything about it, why we needed it, and why the human body worked harmoniously with certain nutrients and not with others. I was intrigued and heavily invested when I started learning about the human anatomy and physiology. Everyday I would come home to my husband (fiancé at the time) and harp about the beautiful science I was learning and how perfect the human body is if you nourish it the right way. During my consistent and relentless undergraduate studies, I grew so in love with the science that I wanted to use it to help others.
Fast forward a couple years after my college graduation.
I still want to use my food allergy experience collectively with all the clinical knowledge I can get to help others become the best they can be. I want to save people the trouble & heart ache of malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, diseases and other forms of illness that nutrition can and will cure. So I began my route towards a dietetic internship, which ultimately will prepare me to take my RD (Registered Dietitian) exam. I must pass this exam to then be certified and able to practice.
What is a Dietetic Internship?
The first thing you should know about a Dietetic Internship is the application process. This process takes a couple of months to complete in which the intern competes with several other students in their field who also seek an internship. My specific internship currently has eleven interns. The eleven of us competed with our grades, work & volunteer experience, leadership positions and on-campus activities for a spot. After applying to a number of internships, we were then put through a matching process where we had to prioritize our choices in hopes that the same internship wants you just as bad as you want it. After going through interviews, background checks and several others factors, the students finally find out if and where they match on one specific day. You guessed it, we call this infamous day, “match day.”
To say we are overwhelmed with gratitude that we were hand selected to be Texas A&M’s interns is an understatement. However, we also try not to think about the hardships to come later in the semester.
The second most important thing is the internships do not pay. The interns do not get paid for their work they do within the hospital while studying to become a professional. The interns are required to be present 100% of the time their preceptors are, typically from 7:30am-5:00 pm (Monday-Friday). This leaves little to no time for a job outside of the internship. In theory it should NOT be considered an internship but rather a graduate program or some type of medical school. And yes I am actually paying to work a job for nine months, without the guarantee that I will be hired at the end of the internship. I may be crazy and slightly insane but at least I have an extreme passion for this field and like I said earlier, I am heavily invested in this profession.
The third thing to mention is each rotation practices with a different population such as inpatient, outpatient, ICU, homebound etc. These rotations last anywhere from 1-6 weeks and may or may not be within the city limits. For the next nine months I will be traveling around the state of Texas to visit Temple, Austin, Dallas, Bryan, College Station, Killeen, and several other cities to fulfill my rotation schedule. Here is the next plot twist, the internship does not pay for mileage or housing.
So, before you call me crazy for plunging head first into my “Dietetic Internship”, remember that I am doing this because I believe proper nutrition can save lives. I’ve seen proper nutrition accomplish milestones in this field already and I cannot wait to see everything else I experience. These nine months are simply an investment towards any Registered Dietitian’s future profession and is a mandatory criterion before certification.
During the next nine months I’ll be going through a lot of new and exciting opportunities. My goal is to keep this blog updated with everything so if you wish to come along with me, you can!
Please SUBSCRIBE to my nutrition blog so that you’ll never miss a post and stay up to date with what’s going on.
I will be posting every Monday after each rotation so y’all can see..
“A day in the life of a Dietetic Intern.”
Happy Chewing, Friends and…
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