Shadowing RDs at the Speciality Hospital of Washington

This month, I’ll be spending every Tuesday and Thursday at The Specialty Hospital of Washington at Hadley (SHW) learning all about being a clinical dietitian as well as food and nutrition services. As part of my Therapeutic Nutrition class, we are getting hands-on, practical experience as we shadow RDs in the clinical setting. I hope to update at least once a week about my time at the hospital!

Last Thursday, we had our orientation and learned all about the hospital. SHW is a Long Term Acute Care Specialty Hospital (LTAC). This means that the average stay for a patient is around 25 days, as opposed to 4-5 day average in a hospital. As a result, you really get to know your patients and their families. SHW is also a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), commonly known as a nursing home.

Since we are only there for the month of March, they are trying to expose us to as much as possible. I start my first rotation in Nutrition Services on Tuesday, where I’ll learn all about the food service aspect to the hospital. After that, I’ll rotate with an RD on the LTAC floor, and then rotate to the SNF. Have you lost track of the acronyms, yet? 🙂

For most people who do the dietetic internship, I think they have the most trepidation with the clinical rotation. I’m not even in an internship yet, and I’m intimidated! However, I think this month long experience will be a real eye-opener and will hopefully ease any fears I have about clinical dietetics. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a critical aspect that every future dietitian must have experience with.

Towards the end of our orientation on Thursday, they stressed the importance of hand hygiene. I never really thought about it before, but you have no idea how critical it is to not only wash your hands, but wash them the right way when working in a clinical setting. They showed us this great video about hand washing, and we promised to them that we’d learn the dance moves by the end of the month. (Watch the video to know what I’m taking about–it’s awesome!)

I’ll be sure to let you know how my first week goes!

Tell me about any clinical experience you’ve had, before, during, or after your internship!


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