Internship…seems like it’s never ending, no? Or maybe it’s just me who feels like the end just isn’t close enough. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had plenty of awesome experiences, but I’m so ready to be done this whole student/working for free thing and get myself a job. I miss being an adult in the working world (who even says that?!) Less than 3 months…I can do it. Now let’s get caught up on what I’ve been up to!
Last time we left off I had just completed a rotation at the BC Cancer Agency. After those 2 weeks I was off for my 2nd elective placement, this time with HealthLink BC. For those not in the know, HealthLink BC is a provincial government organization implementing various forms of technology to provide British Columbians with health information. They have an extensive website with a vast array of health topics you can search, public health announcements, and information about services in the province. They also have a toll-free number in BC (811) where anyone can call and speak to a Registered Nurse (24 hrs a day), Registered Dietitian (M-F, 8 am – 8 pm, except Fridays which are only until 5 pm), or a Pharmacist (afterhours only). You can also email an RD through their website to have your nutrition questions answered.
I chose to do an elective here because the whole idea of utilizing technology to provide health and nutrition information across the province really appeals to me, and I thought it would be a really unique experience. Turns out it was a great choice for an elective placement. I spent time with a variety of RD’s throughout the week, and found out they do so much more than just answer people’s questions via phone and email. They have specialty RD’s for pediatrics, allergies, and oncology who often talk to clients on an ongoing basis, much like an RD in a clinic would. In fact, any caller can open a file with HealthLink and have ongoing nutrition care via the phone if they want. Great for those living in remote communities with little access to dietitians.
I love highlight lists, so here we go!
- Half my time was spent listening to RD’s answer calls as they came into the centre. I loved the variety of calls they received – from advice on introducing solids to babies, to questions about nutrition related news stories, to people asking about food safety issues, and everything in between. Although you would have to know info about many different things, I think the randomness would be a fun challenge.
- I spent time with one of the RD’s who works on Food Policy programs with HealthLink, including the Informed Dining program, Trans Fat Reduction program, Brand Name Food List, and the Health Families BC website. We were able to brainstorm some blog topics for later use.
- I spent time with each of the specialty RD’s, learning about their specific areas, although interestingly enough I had already had exposure to them through my previous internship placements. I gather that’s not always the the case when interns come to HealthLink.
- I also had some time with the RD in charge of research, evaluation, and mentoring the RD’s at HealthLink. She was a fascinating person with such an interesting career path.
- Oh yeah, and we got to celebrate National Dietitians Day with a lovely catered lunch.
Overall, it was a great week. I really enjoyed being in a different environment from the hospital, and seeing how RD’s do their work without face to face contact. I love how much they incorporate technology and social media into their practice, and how this allows nutrition information to be even more accessible to people across the province. I think it would really rewarding and fun to work there with the variety of calls and emails they get.
Obligatory Instagram photo time!
This is Sienna saying hi to her new kitty friend on the other side of our building. They like to sit in the windows and stare at each other. I feel they are building a very meaningful relationship.