Orientation Week

Ahhh, the first week of orientation for our 2018 dietetic internship has ended, which means that our own personal chaos is about to begin.

I use the word “chaos” because we are essentially stepping into a part of our lives that is unknown. None of us have done this before and it is (hopefully) going to force us to produce “order” out of this chaos once we succeed.

We are about to take on one of the most difficult tasks of our professional lives. One that will bring us a step closer to our ultimate goal – the actual internship that will allow us to become a Registered Dietitian.

And in order to prepare ourselves for what is to come, this orientation was absolutely necessary, in my opinion. It served many purposes and allowed us to partake in several activities that should make the transition into our internship a little easier.

One of those activities included our discussion of The Energy Bus, which was a self-help book on becoming more positive and why it is a good idea to carry this into our respective internships. If this book had the capabilities of spewing sunshine and rainbows from it’s pages, I would not be surprised. This is not to take-away from the lessons of this book and I thought that it was actually an extremely fun read that allowed us all to come together and elaborate on the principles within.

This discussion forced me to see the internship in two ways: in a way where I put in minimal effort, begrudged every second, and did just enough to get by, OR in a way where I tried to enjoy what I was going through and as a result get stronger as an individual. I have to do the internship either way, and the latter of those two seems much more promising to my happiness. Luckily, I feel I’m already more of a positive and optimistic person in general, so this was a competency I felt I did well on. [CRDN 2.12 Perform self-assessment and develop goals for self-improvement throughout the program.]

The next activity included something new to me: the nutrition focused physical assessment. This was exciting to learn about because it provided us another tool in our professional toolbox to aid in the overall goal of a more accurate nutrition assessment to better help our patients. It was also introduced on the first day of class, so it was an…interesting…way to take a “hands-on” approach to meeting our fellow peers. I was completely unaware of the physical assessment, so due to my lacking knowledge I believe this is a competency I need to work on in the future.

The third activity that really stuck out to me was during the last day as we learned about the Code of Ethics as an RD. When I first received the packet, I didn’t think much of it because I already considered myself a person of integrity and a person who would always do the right, “ethical”, thing during my practice. After Mrs. Combs went over different scenarios where we had to discuss as a group whether or not the person was being ethical, I had to take a step back. I realized there were certain grey areas where the answer is not so cut-and-dry. It was an eye-opening experience.

Finally, the last activity I enjoyed had to do with an area I am familiar with, but not anywhere near an expert – research, with Dr. Plasencia (who was WONDERFUL, for the record). Most of the time when I think of research, I think of using objective data; facts, numbers, statistics, graphs, etc. But Dr. Plasencia assigned my group a research study that went against the grain and measured more subjective data. Specifically, human responses and words from each individual that took part in the study. This was necessary due to the main objective of the study which was to assess the learning experience after students were immersed into case-based learning for nutrition courses (Harman et. al, 2014). To quote the study, “Case-based learning has been widely used in law, business, medicine, and science education, but has only recently gained popularity in the health sciences field.”

What they found is that it worked. It worked because case studies prepare students for the multi-faceted problems they (we) will face in professional practice. I thought that this was a uniquely interesting study that expanded my knowledge on the current body of evidence.

Overall, I believe the orientation was a complete success. It was overwhelming, for sure, but I believe it will aid me and my fellow peers as we trek off into the unknown of this dietetic internship. Out of all the activities and lessons we learned throughout the initial orientation and as I come to a close with this first blog post, one thing I DO know about what is to come – it will all be worth it.

 This pic just about sums up the week. :)

This pic just about sums up the week. :)


1. Harman, T., et. al. (2014). Case-Based Learning Facilities Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Nutrition Education: Students Describe the Big Picture. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2212-2672.