I’m a Registered Dietitian!

Wow, the past few weeks have felt like quite the whirlwind! I finished up the last of my four weeks working as the pediatric ICU dietitian, graduated from my dietetic internship, studied hundreds of pages of dietetics information, made and learned oodles of flash cards, and took (and passed!) the Registered Dietitian Exam yesterday!!

I am officially Dana Goldberg, RDN!

(Not to mention, this is also my 100th blog post!)

With all of these milestones comes lots of self-reflection and things I want to share about my experiences, so first I thought I would use this post to share my thoughts 1-week post- dietetic internship.

I’ll start off by saying that these past 11 months have been some of the toughest months of my career as a student- both academically and mentally. Taking almost a full graduate degree course load and working 32 hours a week as an intern sometimes made me want to pull my hair out, but I am proud to say that I successfully made it out alive. There aren’t many things that I am ever really proud of myself for; it just isn’t my personality and I tend to be pretty hard on myself. Graduating high school didn’t faze me (I was livid and embarrassed when my mom tried to put a congratulatory sign on our lawn), graduating undergrad kind of seemed impressive (but everyone around me was also graduating college so I didn’t feel like it was that special), but I will confidently say that I am proud to have completed a dietetic internship and passed the RD exam. It feels like the hardest part – the uphill climb – is over and I can finally catch my breath.

I know I have shared this in a few previous posts, but I honestly didn’t love my time working at a hospital as a clinical dietitian. I didn’t feel like I really made any lasting impact on patients’ lives nor helped improve their long-term health. However, spending over 1,500 hours 27 different areas of the hospital, plus working with over 35 different dietitians, I learned so much about clinical nutrition that will set me up for success in any nutrition field that I end up going into. Although I dreaded walking into that hospital some days, I don’t think I would have wanted to do it any other way.

Finally, I can’t talk about my experience as a dietetic intern without mentioning my staff relief rotation. During the last four weeks of the internship, each intern got to choose an area of the hospital where she would act as the dietitian. We still had a dietitian to co-sign our charting documents, but we were basically on our own as if we were the sole dietitian covering that area. I chose to spend those four weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and it was my favorite four weeks on the entire internship. I chose the PICU because I found I enjoyed all of the enteral and parenteral nutrition (nutrition via tube feeds and IVs) calculations in the ICU setting. I also went into my internship wanting to work with kids – and especially enjoyed my pediatric rotations during the internship. The first week of staff relief was absolutely terrifying but by the end, I felt like I had the confidence to go out into the field and be a dietitian (which was very reassuring!). Also, I have to give a huge THANK YOU to the PICU dietitian and my staff relief preceptor Melanie for teaching me more than I thought I would ever know (and also making me laugh every day – even when I was working with kids who were critically ill).

Now, one week since the end of the internship, these are my main thoughts, but I’m sure as time goes by I will have more thoughts and reflections to share.

If you are a current RD2Be, dietetics student, or dietetic intern, be sure to stay tuned for my posts over the next few weeks because I’ll be sharing my dietetic internship and RD exam advice. Feel free to send me all your burning questions and I can answer them in my posts 🙂

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A Sugary Surpise

And just like that, another semester in the books. With this semester behind me, it just got real that I will be living in a different country in one month, and I’m SO EXCITED. Of course I am going to miss family and friends back home (It is crazy to think that the next time I step foot on campus will be in August!), but I can’t wait to see where my study abroad journey takes me (literally and figuratively).

Anyways, during finals week, it is pretty common for college students to pretend calories don’t matter and 5 cookies will make hours of studying and three-hour exams seem a little better. Ironically, as a nutrition major, while you are chowing down Hershey Kisses and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups at the library, I’m sitting one table over trying to memorize all of the things that sugar is doing to your body.

Sugar is a tricky topic and always gets a bad wrap. Most people think anything with sugar is bad, but if I were to ask you, which is better: a Snicker’s bar or a cup of Cherry Chobani Greek Yogurt, you would probably say the yogurt is better. Guess what? The yogurt actually has more sugar than the snickers! How about Quaker Raisin Oatmeal or a Krispy Kreme doughnut? The oatmeal has more sugar!

Now, I am not saying to go out and eat candy and doughnuts instead of yogurt and oatmeal. The sugar in the candy is added sugar whereas the sugar in yogurt in natural lactose. Both types raise blood glucose and insulin levels (read more here), but natural sugar is more easily recognized by the body to be metabolized. Plus, yogurt and oatmeal are full of other nutrients that desserts don’t have.

This is just some food for thought. Just because something contains sugar doesn’t mean it is bad; it is the type of sugar that is more important.

Key words to look for one a food label which indicate added sugar: maltose, dextrose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, (anything else ending in –ose), cane juice, maltodextrin, syrup, malt, nectar, sorbitol, and too many more to name!

Note: Ingredients on a food label are listed in order by weight. If a product has added sugar, make sure it is one of the last ingredients rather than the first.