Being a Dietetic Intern During the Pandemic

Being a Dietetic Intern During a Pandemic - Food & Nutrition Magazine - Stone Soup
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There was no pandemic when I began my fifteen-month coordinated graduate internship program. About halfway through the program, the COVID-19 pandemic began and I went from having to stay home, to being in-person at rotation sites and back again to remote rotations. The coronavirus case numbers determined if my rotation would be in-person or virtual.

Although the internship was a challenging experience, these attributes helped me make it through and I hope they can help you make it through, too.Being a Dietetic Intern During the Pandemic -

Flexibility: My rotations have been both in-person and remote during the pandemic. I had to be flexible with what the site was able to safely participate in. Although I missed out on opportunities that would have been available if there was not a pandemic, I was still able to complete my hours and competencies for the program and perhaps gain skills I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Persistence: Working from home can be difficult. Staying motivated at home was very difficult and I found myself dreaming of doing homework in a coffee shop or at the library — all of which were closed. I found the best way to stay focused was by creating a routine. Another help was my morning video calls with a fellow student in my program.  Every morning we would talk and set goals for the day. It’s was a great way to stay accountable and stay motivated.

Leadership: Sometimes leadership involves a change in mindset. Working remotely gave me the opportunity to take charge of my experience at rotation sites. I was able to work independently and use time management skills to accomplish what needed to be done.

These qualities have been tested and strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they helped me make it through successfully. Fortunately, these also are characteristics employers want to see in their employees. The last fifteen months have been hard, but I believe I have been able to learn and obtain the experience needed to become a successful dietitian and am happy to have made it through my internship! I wish you luck in completing yours!

Stephania Tilton
Stephania Tilton is a current graduate student and dietetic intern at Grand Valley State University.