My clinical experience has truly defined who I will be as a dietitian. This was the first time that I have worked in the hospital setting and it was life changing. I was able to interact with patients, family members and the interdisciplinary medical team in ways that I did not expect. Everyday presented new challenges and successes that grew me as a future dietitian. I learned charting techniques, how to interact with difficult patients, and how to carry myself with grace in uncomfortable situations. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the experience that I had at Marian Regional Medical Center. The dietitians at this facility were so willing to answer my questions, contribute to my learning process, offer advice, and bring me into growing and uncomfortable situations.

This section of my portfolio showcases my time at Marian Regional Medical Center for my clinical rotation.

Mid-Rotation Evaluation

Showing off my Marian badge during my first few weeks of clinical rotations.

The mid-rotation evaluation was an incredible experience of hearing from my preceptors about my performance and also expressing how I would rate my own performance. The dietitians had great scores for my mid-rotation evaluation as well as helpful advice on how I could improve. Below is the evaluation form of my preceptor and the evaluation form that I filled out about myself as well.

Sara’s Mid-Week Eval

Preceptor Mid rotation eval

Mission Hope Cancer Center

Presenting for the Mission Hope Cancer Class. Provided a yummy food demo where I taught the participants how to make a Harvest Salad with brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, spinach, blue cheese, cranberries and pecans.

During my time at Marian Regional Medical Center, I was given the opportunity to shadow the dietitian at Mission Hope Cancer Center. This is a new facility that was built for cancer treatment patients. The facility is complete with an infusion room, massage therapy room, make-over room, yoga studio, kitchen, and various practitioner officers.  The dietitian at this facility counsels patients by appointment and holds a bimonthly class about a cancer related topic. After shadowing a few counseling sessions and one of the classes, I was given the option to teach my own class. The following month I presented on Cancer Fighting Foods for the Holidays. I was also asked to write an article for the January newsletter on a topic of my choice. I decided to write an article on Foods that Fight Inflammation. Below are links to both the presentation and newsletter article. For those of you reading this, I give permission for both of these items to be used as teaching resources if you see fit.

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Cancer Presentation 

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Foods that Fight Inflammation

Required Articles and Summaries

Part of the required work for my time at Marian Regional Medical Center was finding articles that coincided with the required “theme” for the week. I would read the articles and then write a short summary to go over with my preceptor that week. This was helpful in it allowed me to update myself with the most recent research and practices.

Highlights from Clinical Rotation Articles

Case Study – Patient X

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For my fellow RD2Be, the case study presentation is a required project through the Cal Poly Dietetic Internship. It is the opportunity to select a patient in the hospital that you follow and treat during their time in the facility. You then gather additional information about the patient, search for recent research on nutrition care standards for their disease state and present it to the RDs and/or other healthcare providers at your facility. Below I have included both the case study and my own reflection of that process. I will warn my readers that the study is about a very difficult subject both emotionally and academically. If you have any additional questions please use the “contact” tab on the main menu. I would be happy to answer any additional questions.

Patient X case study

Clinical Reflection


Pulmonary Presentation

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Another great opportunity that I received during my time at Marian Regional Medical Center, was teaching a pulmonary class. I know that pulmonary doesn’t always strike people as nutrition related but it is! When a patient has COPD or other chronic lung related conditions the amount they eat and the nutrients it contains can make a big difference. The primary aim of the class was to discuss how to make “mini meals,” since breathing can become a challenge when eating large meals, consuming a low sodium diet and eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables to help with the overall health of you body. The class also included two activities. The first was providing the class with a list of foods from the protein, fat, and carbohydrates categories. They then had to use those foods to create a mini meal for themselves. The second activity included learning how to read nutrition labels when looking to lower the sodium content in your diet. Each participate was given a product that had a nutrition label on it and asked to evaluate the sodium content.

One of the RDs had expressed a struggle that she identified for patients, locating foods that fall within the mini meal category and meets the criteria for low sodium, when eating out. When I recognized this need, I created a dining out handout for those that live in the Santa Maria area. Now both of these are made for education resource use, but might need to be relevant if your education population lives in an area that doesn’t have the restaurants on the handout.

Pulmonary Powerpoint 

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Sara – low-sodium hand out

NICU Cheat Sheet

During my time at Marian, I was given the opportunity to work in the NICU with the babies that are born pre-term. It was an incredibly humbling experience to care for something so small. The primary portion of the NICU, for the dietitian, is calculating the correct needs for the baby. I decided the best way for my to keep track of all of the things that I was learning was to add the information to a cheat sheet at the end of everyday. Here is my NICU cheat sheet that I created for personal use, but highly recommend for future interns needing some additional practice/help. I will warn you…it might not make without a little bit of explanation. If you’re using these calculations for an internship I highly recommend asking your preceptor first before utilizing them.


End of Rotation Evaluation

My clinical rotation with Marian Regional Medical Center has come to an end and I am moving on to a new location that I will be announcing shortly. The following is the very helpful evaluations given to me by my preceptor on my last day. I have also included evaluations that I have given myself, evaluations from giving patient diet education and evaluations from my case study presentation.

Clinical Evaluations

End of rotation evaluation

My clinical experience at Marian Regional Medical Center was one of the most incredible experiences of my career. Reflecting back on everything that I have learned in the last 12 weeks, fills me with gratitude. I am walking away from this rotation with some so much more than just an understanding of diagnosing malnutrition, providing diet education, and charting effectively. I am walking away from this rotation with a greater appreciation for the people the keep our hospitals running; from the Doctors to the House Keeping staff. It has been truly incredible to be part of a medical team and see people’s lives change from medical intervention.