Insight Into Internship – Part 6

Christmas break has come and gone, and today I found myself back at the hospital in a new placement. Which made me realize I had yet to post about my last placement before Christmas. Oops! I guess that’s what happens when you vow to not think about school work/internship during your too short Christmas vacation.

My last placement before Christmas was 2 weeks on the Vascular Surgery/General Surgery ward at Vancouver General Hospital. Yup, another placement with adults. Seeing as this was my second placement at VGH, I felt it was a little easier to get into the “routine”, as I had already been using the same computer systems and same forms, etc. But it was still a steep learning curve because in this placement we were introduced to total parenteral nutrition. What is total parenteral nutrition (TPN) you ask? Well, this is when all of your nutrition is administered by IV, in completely broken down components, bypassing the gut. Great for patients who may not have a properly functioning gut. It’s not the nutrition method of choice – if the gut works, use it! But sometimes the potential complications are worth the reward, especially in very malnourished individuals.

I was a bit apprehensive about the whole TPN thing – it involves a lot of calculations and checks, and you have to figure out the best way to get patients up to their goal rate without their blood work freaking out, etc. But I do kind of love doing calculations, and once I got the hang of it, I felt like a TPN calculating machine.

Aside from all the TPN fun, there were some other highlights:

  • getting stuck on a bus for over 30 min in an intersection when we had a snowstorm (well, by Vancouver standards anyways)
  • being invited to the intern Christmas lunch, even though it’s not our “home base”
  • getting to talk to a patient’s mother about kombucha, and whether it would be appropriate for her son (I love getting to talk to patients who are into healthy hippie foods)

One of the lowlights of the placement was when I had to do a “no fat diet” teaching session for a patient at the doctor’s request. It’s awesome telling someone they can eat egg whites, no-fat dairy, fruits, veggies, pasta with tomato sauce, and hard candies a few days before Christmas. On that note, I also had to do a “full fluid diet” teaching for a patient as well right before Christmas…at least they could have eggnog?

It was a great end to the short month spent at VGH. I had reservations going there, but when I left I definitely felt like it wouldn’t have been that bad a place to have had my whole internship. Not that I would want to give up the placement I did get…but it would have been a good 2nd or 3rd option.


Random photo time?


Oh Christmas break – why did you have to be so short?!

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

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Categories: Dietetics, Internship, UBC


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3 Comments on “Insight Into Internship – Part 6”

  1. January 10, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    “On that note, I also had to do a “full fluid diet” teaching for a patient as well right before Christmas…at least they could have eggnog?” Cracked me up! Heyoh bourbon is liquid too! 😀

    The patient who had to go on a no-fat diet (I can imagine how sucky that is), are you able to discuss what they had which would create such a result?

    • January 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      It wasn’t so much what they had – the Dr was just concerned they may develop some issues, and wanted to bypass the use of their lymphatic system completely. The only way to do that was to eliminate fat, as that is how it’s transported in the body. That being said, you can never truly be on a “no fat” diet, as there are still trace amounts in everything. There was definitely question as to whether it was even really necessary to be that restrictive (low fat probably would have been fine), but you have to go with what the Dr wants!


  1. Insight Into Internship – Part 7 | french fries to flax seeds - February 4, 2013

    […] about pediatric TPN (see my last internship post for more info on TPN) – this was a learning curve, even though I felt fairly comfortable with […]

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