Sorry about the silence these last couple of week folks, but I had a really good reason! I spent the last couple of weeks studying for the exam, which I passed Friday! Yay! I’ll post about prepping and taking the exam later, but for now… my last rotation.
The very last rotation of the internship was Staff Relief which took place for the entire month of May. About a week before we started the rotation, we were told what rotations were available for coverage. Our director then asked us to write our top three choices down and to make a note if we had been applying for any particular type of job (clinical, LTC, etc). As a group, the interns had already sort of discussed how we were all going to rank our choices, but there was always the possibility that our the director could change things up. Our director took our lists and, while we were getting a class talk from one of the RDs, our director met with the head of clinical nutrition and the two of them took our choices and decided where they wanted each of us.
Well, I was thrilled to end up providing coverage for the Medicine/General Surgery ward. I think my director was a little surprised and amused when one of the other interns and I high-fived each other upon finding out where we were headed. The other intern was to provide coverage for Nutrition Support, which meant the two of us would be in the same location. Since we had already talked about how we were going to rank our choices, we had already decided that if we ended up with those rotations, since we both wanted both rotations, we would share any interesting cases and help each other out. Of our group of six interns, three went to the in-patient clinical wards, one to LTC, and two to outpatient. The preceptors told us that we were the first class in a while they can remember doing that – apparently, it usually ends up the whole group wants to do clinical or the whole group wants to do outpatient.
So, the first couple of days of staff relief we got some help and some information from the dietitians we were “replacing.” See, in addition to assessing patients like we did during our rotations, we were supposed to cover the meetings the dietitians go to, track all patients in our wards for follow-ups and assessments (ALL, as opposed to how during rotations, we saw the patients the preceptors assigned to us)… Basically, we were being THE dietitian for the month.
And that is a lot more intense than just being the intern.
The first week was nonstop action of being busy and trying to get everything done before the end of the day. I know a few of the interns, myself included, spent quite a few days staying later than planned. By the end of the first week, though, we found our groove, even if we were constantly busy. On the really busy days, we split up the workload and helped each other out. Plus, we all still had one or two projects we were wrapping up. I think my ward was completely full the entire time and it sounded like the two other interns at the same location were in the same situation. Some of my patients tranferred out of my ward into the the long term care unit, which was being covered by another intern. It was nice to get little messages from her that my notes were great and, the few times I had one of her patients transfer to me, I told her the same about her notes. (Well-written notes from previous encounters are a godsend.) We quickly gained confidence with everything and by the middle of the second week, we were all feeling a lot more comfortable acting as the RD for whatever ward we were assigned to. Plus, we weren’t completely alone since we all still had preceptors, because we were all still interns so we couldn’t sign notes without a registered dietitian co-signing it.
One of the things I had wondered a lot about the SRE (Staff Relief Experience) rotation was where the dietitians would be and what would they be doing. Some of the dietitians took their vacations during our staff relief month, since with six interns doing a lot of the work, there was plenty of coverage. But for the most part, the dietitians were all still there and were answering any questions we might’ve had, but they let us do the bulk of the work. The dietitians who had interns were given special projects to work on while we were there, so they were kept busy, too!
By the end of our staff relief rotation, even though we enjoyed it, we were all excited because the end of staff relief meant the end of our internship!