That is how long I have been a registered dietitian.
This has been the most eye-opening, awe-inspiring, frustrating, wonderful, stressful, glorious year ever. Who knew a year could have flown by so fast? As I think back, I can remember (to the tiniest detail) everything that happened the day I took my exam. What I wore, what I ate for breakfast, what song I rocked out to before leaving my car, what my exam locker number was, what I was feeling when the test started, what I was feeling when the test ended, what phone number I called first after getting my passing result.
But as much as I think about that singular day and how it completely changed my life, I feel like I don’t reflect as much on the 364 days that followed.
Because it’s just regular life, right?
Get up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. We get lost into the everyday routine, missing all the small moments that make this life exciting/awesome/inspiring.
But as I sit here and reflect on this ONE YEAR, I realized that these small moments have allowed me to learn, grow, and become the more confident registered dietitian that I am today.
When I Saw My First Patient… By Myself
On the second-to-last day of my work orientation, I was given a list of patients and was told, “Go for it!”. Do you know how scary it is to see patients for the first time without having a preceptor who checks your note over? (answer… terrifying) But know what happened? It was completely fine. I trusted in my instincts, asked questions/sought advice of my co-workers/supervisor, and used my clinical judgement skills I developed during internship and EVERYTHING WORKED OUT.
When I Made My First Mistake (Which Was Completely Not Life-Threatening)
We all make mistakes… we’re all human. But I remember making my first mistake. I put in the wrong type of note initially, then realized that the patient needed a much more in-depth note. So what did I do? I cancelled the first note and re-wrote the more in-depth note instead. The absolute sense of despair/dread was unbearable – how could I have made such an amateur mistake? With my stomach completely in knots (and my stress level at 100%), I emailed my supervisor sharing my mistake. After a tearful discussion with my parents and a sleepless night, I woke up to an email from my supervisor stating that it was okay and that she was glad that I caught the mistake and corrected it. So, EVERYTHING WORKED OUT.
When I Had My First Patient Break-through
Some days at the hospital are exhausting. Physically/emotionally/mentally exhausting. Sometimes it seems like no matter how much time I spend with patients, how much education I give, or how many handouts I provide my patients, it seems like it is never enough. Until I walked into work one day and was told by a fellow dietitian that one of my patients had been following my diet and lowered his average blood glucose (his hemoglobin A1c) to normal levels. It shows that despite not seeing the results immediately, all that education/time demonstrates does make a difference. It may seem that nothing is working in the beginning but, given a little bit of patience, EVERYTHING WORKS OUT.
When I Had My First Review
Who likes being reviewed by their boss? Definitely not this girl! Whenever I am told that I am going to be reviewed, all memories of the good things I experiences (see above) vanish and all that’s left are the tiny minor mistakes (Did I spell that right? Did I do the right type of note? Did I…?). I am an over-thinker and I tend to over-analyze, which means that when it’s review time, I get anxious. What are they going to say? Did I do anything wrong? But time after time, I have found that my supervisor is AH-mazing. She points out the good aspects of my performance (which are many) and then says where I can improve (which, thankfully, is not too many). I have come to learn that reviews are not some to get anxious about but times when I can learn and grow as a dietitian… AKA EVERYTHING WORKS OUT.
When My Interdisciplinary Co-Workers Claimed Me As Their Own
I currently work part-time at two separate hospitals (in separate health systems), so I spend half my week with one group of doctors/nurses/support staff and the other half with a whole different group. Initially, it was difficult finding my footing because the hospitals were so different from each other. Plus, as a staff relief dietitian (I have no set unit – I fill in for people who are off/on vacation/sick), I had to meet/learn/memorize staff on every unit in both places. It was a lot of people. After a few months (and more than a few slip-ups), I can say that I know the name of every nurse, in-patient physician, and support staff member at both hospitals. And they know me. They know that I love to bake, love to laugh, and that I love my patients. They know that I will be honest with them about what nutrition plan I want and that I will advocate on the behalf of my patients. They have been so supportive and have made the transition to the working world smooth. I was nervous about balancing everything, but I realized that EVERYTHING WORKS OUT.
When I Realized That This Was The Culmination of Everything I Worked For
It took 8 years to get here. To this day. To this accomplishment. It is a day I will forever cherish because it was the day that I worked so hard to get to. It was a day that was built on tears, frustrations, triumphs, failures, successes, and accomplishments. I am so lucky and thankful for everything that I have experienced and I cannot wait to see what the next year teaches me!
Your ONE YEAR DIETITIAN friend,