Annabelle Toll is part of the 2019-2020 Dietetic Internship class at UC Davis Medical Center. Annabelle is from Sacramento. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, Dietetics Emphasis along with the Certificate Program in Healthcare Spanish from California State University, Sacramento. Prior to the dietetic internship, Annabelle volunteered at the California Department of Public Health where she supported projects for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Leveraging her bilingual skills, Annabelle also worked at Clara’s House, a local primary health care clinic, for primarily Spanish-speaking patients. She enjoyed translating appointments between patients and specialists, and assisting with Spanish nutrition classes such as, “Eat Well, Be Well” and “Healthy Hearts.” Annabelle currently serves as the Membership Chair for the Northern Area District, the local chapter of the California Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Thank you for sharing your insights, Annabelle!
Interviewer: Why did you choose the UC Davis Medical Center Dietetic Internship?
Annabelle: I grew up in the Sacramento area and completed my volunteering and undergraduate studies here, so I wanted to remain in this community where I am already deeply entrenched. Above all, I chose to apply to the UCDMC dietetic internship because I felt this internship would provide me the best learning experience, as I am interested in pursuing a career in clinical dietetics. I was drawn to UCDMC because it is a top-rated and innovative teaching hospital that would allow me to experience a variety of high-acuity cases. So far this internship has exceeded all my expectations, and I’m grateful to be a part of this program.
Interviewer: What is the greatest lesson you have learned so far during this internship?
Annabelle: One of the greatest lessons I have learned so far is to be able to adapt to constant change. This can be applied to all aspects of the internship, but more specifically it applies to the patient interaction. Although we review the charts before going into an interview, there are many different variables that can affect how the interaction will go. I have learned to think critically on my feet and be prepared for the unexpected. Whether its during an assessment or nutrition education, being flexible and adaptable has been imperative to achieving a positive patient interaction.
Interviewer: What have you found to be your greatest challenge?
Annabelle: Aside from having to learn the electronic charting system, and knowing how to navigate the computer program, I would say that seeing the patient as a “whole patient” has been my greatest challenge. In undergrad, I learned the Medical Nutrition Therapy for singular disease states. In reality, most patients are dealing with more than one chronic disease state, and it has been challenging to figure out which medical condition to prioritize when estimating needs and tailoring the patient interaction to account for the various diseases.
Interviewer: What has been your greatest accomplishment during your internship year?
Annabelle: While I am still only two and a half months into the program, I will say that one of my most significant accomplishments is being able to connect with patients meaningfully. Although I still am learning, I have felt that I am slowly starting to develop my clinical judgment. I can use the information gathered from patients during the Nutrition Assessment and tailor my interventions to “meet patients where they’re at” with much more confidence than the beginning of the internship.
Interviewer: Prior to starting your dietetic internship what were your career goals and have they changed while going through the internship?
Annabelle: My career goals before starting this internship were to work in Maternal and Child nutrition, along with becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). While I have yet to complete my Pediatric rotation, that is still my interest at this point. I am also still very much interested in becoming a CDE, especially since people with diabetes tend to make up a large part of our patient population.
Interviewer: If you could give any piece of advice to future interns, what would it be?
Annabelle: Come into the internship ready to work hard and learn, be open-minded, and be flexible. One of my favorite parts of this internship is that we are exposed to multiple different preceptors. Each preceptor brings a unique knowledge-set and experience that facilitates different learning experiences. With that in mind, it is essential to be flexible because each preceptor likes to do things differently. It is also important to ask questions throughout the process; all the preceptors I have had have been very helpful in explaining things that I do not understand.