Insight Into Internship – Part 5

You may have noticed, I changed up the way I’m naming my internship posts. I felt the “old” style was too long and cumbersome, so they are simply going to be known as Part “X”. And just in case you’ve missed any of my journey, you can check them all out here:

Welcome To Internship

Insight Into Internship – Part 1

Insight Into Internship – Part 2

Insight Into Internship – Part 3

Insight Into Internship – Part 4


This instalment of Insight Into Internship has me moving up in the ranks – from a Clinical I placement to a Clinical II placement. What exactly does that mean? More independence, more complicated patients, and more learning. Not gonna lie – I was a little concerned how the “leap” would be. Sure, I could read all the learning outcomes I should expect to complete during the 7 weeks of Clinical II, but that still never prepares you for what it will truly be like. Was I really prepared? Especially since I was leaving the comforts and familiarity of my health authority (PHSA), to go to the big hospital known as Vancouver General Hospital. Dun dun dun!!!

My first two weeks placement was on the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) ward at VGH. It was time to put my adult skills to use and see some patients whose goals were not growth and development, like with kids, but maintaining or comfort care. ACE was an interesting place – all of the patients on the ward were 70 or older, and the majority had a multitude of health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, dementia, Parkinson’s, mobility issues, etc. I had done some volunteering in a long term care home before, so I wasn’t surprised or shocked with anything I saw. Although it is not a palliative care unit, there were definitely some patients there in end of life situations, and unfortunately some did pass away during my time there. That being said, it was actually a really great place to work and learn.

I was placed there with my fellow intern from PHSA, and after our orientation day, our preceptor basically gave each of us a half of the ward, and those were our patients for our entire stay there. It was great to have that sort of ownership of workload, and continuity with the patients, as they and their families got to know us. It really allowed us to work on evaluating the effectiveness of our changes, and modify as needed. Not to mention all of the other health care team members up there were great, and really treated us as part of the team, not just students.

Highlights? Of course!

  • Having a case load of 20 patients every day. Sounds like a lot, but if they were eating well, I wasn’t really involved.
  • Going to rounds every morning, and having the health care team look to me for updates on patients nutrition status. It made me feel like a part of the team, and like what I was doing was important.
  • Getting to liberalize diets for patients who weren’t eating, just to get them to eat more. Because let’s face it – once you reach 80, does it really matter so much if you have a little extra sugar or salt?
  • Attending an afternoon education session on Celiac disease. Totally unrelated to my placement, but fascinating.
  • Realizing that this big ol’ hospital ain’t such a bad place to be…and it’s actually easier to navigate than BC Children’s Hospital.
  • Getting a pretty awesome evaluation from my preceptor. Hey, I’m allowed to pat my own back sometimes 🙂

My time at ACE was great – it was a good transition from my previous placements to more complicated care, with a steady pace that never had me overwhelmed. It really helped that my preceptor was great, and all of the people working on the ward were accepting and helpful of us students. Sadly, we didn’t have much interaction with our fellow interns at VGH (and there are 8 of them), but such is life when you are busy learning and preparing for a job.

Random picture time!


Dinner one night at work after a long day at internship – this bizarre summer roll my sushi department makes with crab, cucumber, lettuce, and strawberries. Somehow it works. Oh, and a little fermented love on the side. Mmm, kombucha.

Tags: , ,

Categories: Dietetics, Internship, UBC


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3 Comments on “Insight Into Internship – Part 5”

  1. December 17, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Skipping from one end of the lifespan spectrum to the other! I definitely enjoyed my rotation at a long term care facility, it was interesting. I’m glad you’re enjoying internship and everything is going well!

    • December 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Weirdly, we don’t have any placements in long term care. But yes, internship is going great 🙂


  1. Insight Into Internship – Part 6 | french fries to flax seeds - January 8, 2013

    […] Missed my previous Insight Into Internship posts? Check them out here! […]

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