We’re back with another installment of our guest blog series from Nikki Nies for National Preceptor Month! In this post she interviews her dietetic intern, Hannah, to learn more about how she views the dietetics profession, both now and in the future. Read on to see what she had to share!
It’s only been a couple years since my dietetic internship graduation, yet the nutrition field is ever changing. I love hearing first hand from #rd2bes what current internship rotation they are working on and how I can be of help. To follow up on my previous blog post on the benefits of being a preceptor I thought it was fitting to share an interview I did with one of my previous interns, Abilene Christian University (ACU) dietetic intern, Hannah Plumlee.
In the short 3 weeks I got to know Hannah, it confirmed the future of our profession is bright! Check out her story below!
What were your expectations going into the internship?
It’s been more fun than I expected it to be. I had heard you’re never going to get sleep, but every rotation has been unique and great in its own way. I had also heard that with a dietetic internship, it was ‘hard to have a life,’ but it’s really all about time management and balancing everything on your plate. It’s important to take time for yourself. Take study breaks, go shopping, hang out with friends, go on a walk—make sure you are putting yourself first. That will make things go a lot smoother
What sets the ACU internship apart from others ?
Our focus is poverty based and community. We do a lot with homeless people and low income families, specifically with CitySquare, which provides food, health, housing and outreach services to the poor. I also chose it due to the master’s program component and since I’m a Dallas native.
What has been your favorite part?
Getting to meet so many kinds of people. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my long term care rotation and was pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying it—the staff have been so welcoming. The clinical based rotations have been my favorite as they’re more along the lines of what I learned in school and I like to apply that.
What has been your least favorite part so far? Most challenging part?
Still learning how to counsel, adjusting to each facilities’ charting system and applying MNT.
What did you feel most equipped you for the internship?
Time management along with 8 hour days and projects. My internship class on Monday nights really prepares me for each rotation because we gather to talk about different experiences, different counseling techniques and examples of case studies that are extremely helpful before going into each rotation.
What do you wish you had known before hand?
How true and needed the concept of ‘keeping an open mind’ is relevant to all #rd2be.
What would you have told yourself before you applied to DICAS? Looking back now, what would you like to have known about the application process?
I wish I had started my personal statement earlier—around Thanksgiving instead of Christmas break, when I started. Since it’s a long application process, give yourself enough time as its time consuming and there’s many parts.
A lot of what we heard was if you didn’t get an interview, you wouldn’t be matched. However, that’s not across the board. I was placed at ACU without an interview.
How do you feel preceptors and/or fellow RDs can better help interns?
First allowing the interns to observe process/expected method and then encourage interns to venture off on own.
What’s your preferred learning style?
Observe first and learn by making mistakes.
What words comes to mind when you think about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?
There are so many volunteer opportunities and resources that are super helpful. I don’t think enough people know about it. Take advantage!
Where would you like to see the nutrition profession in 5 years?
Promote nutrition as part of the solution. Many times you’ll see a patient is on 20+ medicines. If they work with a dietitian to find out what meals work best instead of using medicine as the go to, we can continue to confirm we’re the nutrition experts.
I’ve seen this first hand. My grandma had really high blood pressure and wasn’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. I started working with her and she was able to discontinue two of her blood pressure medicine just through diet. A lot of medicines can be detrimental, especially in an elderly population. We shouldn’t push it on them, but educate them on their options.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Personally, finding my niche and what I want to do. Trying to work there long term after 5 years.
What are you looking forward to most after graduation?
Getting a job! See the job field and figure out what I really want to do.
Feel like you connect with Hannah’s story? Engage with her @livingsmarthappyhealthy, an Instagram account she has with her college best friends who are fellow rd2bes. Share with us @StreetSmartRD and @simpeleeatsRD the challenges and fun you’re having during your internship!