Spotlight of the Week: DI Days

HAPPY SUMMER! Hopefully you’all have been enjoying or at least having a fulfilling summer!!!

Jessica suggested that I start this section to increase everyone’s nutrition and dietetic internship knowledge! She found a great one for me already!

DI Days

Screenshot of the Blog

Screenshot of the Blog

This blog is written by Danielle Olsen, who did her Dietetic Internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, MA, for the past school year. (Which also meant she experienced Hurricane Sandy!) She trained in clinical (pediatrics, renal, ICU, MNT, counseling, etc.), food service (management/patient), community hospital, WIC, . Reading about her path of becoming more independent in our profession was definitely inspiring , educational and fun! One things that I found really helpful was the “For the DI Candidate” section, in which she gave tips on the application process. I’ll just list some standout tips, but go to her blog to find out more!

  • It may be hard to build your clinical experiences, but you can get involved in other non-nutrition leadership opportunities to show your leadership skills.
  • Visiting the Dietetic Programs increases your understanding of that program as well as DIs in general, so if it is within your capability, do so!
  • She describes the DI matching process as a “mutual relationship.”

…what are you going to give to them, and what are they going to give to you?

  • Be aware of the programs that do not accept references from unpaid experiences, though Danielle did mention that most programs that she applied to had no problems with it.
  • (My own tip to add, since it’s something that I also asked Mikelle) If you are an international student applying for DIs in the U.S., some of the programs require that you are a U.S. permanent resident. In addition, Mikelle said that you may need to get Optional Practical Training (OPT). Definitely ask the Berkeley International Office for more information, and they also host workshops about it. I plan to learn more when I get back this year!
  • Enjoy life after Bachelor’s graduation, but also stay on top of nutrition information!
  • Keep an open mind!

One of the emphasis in her DI was nutrition support, which is what most people think of as tube feeding. However, that is only Enteral Nutrition, which connects to the gut, while Paternal Nutrition are given to people who cannot use their gut. (Go to American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)‘s link to learn more!) Another interesting section that she talked about was Bariatric¬†Surgery, or weight loss surgery used to treat severely obese patients. It consists of restrictive (making the stomach smaller) and malabsorptive (removing part of the small intestine) surgeries to restrict dietary intake and absorption to induce weight loss. Unfortunately, patients after surgery also risk malnutrition and may suffer from certain side effects, and require strict, lifelong attention to diet, exercise and vitamin/mineral supplements. (WebMD also offers a Bariatric Surgery slideshow).

I definitely learned a lot through just reading her blog, and it sounds like she learnt even more but could not cover it all! In addition, she started researching for DIs between her sophomore and junior year, which makes me nervous since I also started looking, but am still not sure what to do. It’s hard to explain to my parents how the DI works, especially since our path does not exactly exemplify the regular “rite of passage” after college (so to speak). I’ll delve deeper into these programs!


(Proceeding to Eve’s Ramblings about Summer 2013 – Unsuccessful/Unexpected Difficulties?)

Ultimately, I returned to Taiwan this summer, hoping to shadow dietitian(s). Unfortunately, hospitals in Taiwan require a letter of recommendation from the program director to even just shadow, so THAT was successful. I guess I should’ve researched more about shadowing… On top of moving, the 1-3 weeks application processing, and my anticipation to visit my sister in Aussie, I decided to study/take GRE classes instead. I’m sure I could get a letter of recommendation, but I feel that it’ll be a bit rude… I’ll definitely prepare it for next summer! Fortunately, I still managed to get a “touring” opportunity and a few days of shadowing, so I guess my stress over multiple phone calls and nonconstructive summer was not for nothing. I’ll definitely share my thoughts about my experiences!

I’ll do my best to maintain this section of the blog, and also finally publish a food demo in April… Sorry Chef Daniel! All the best and check out the DI Days blog!!!


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