Marisa Morales is part of the 2021-2022 Dietetic Internship class at UC Davis Medical Center. She joined us after completing her Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. Marisa has a mission to advance the field of Nutrition and Detetics as well as support her community. In addition to serving as the Webinar Chair and Legislative Ambassador for the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Northern Area District, she aslo volunteers to deliver meals to homebound seniors with Meals on Wheels. Initially, her desire to become a Registered Dietitian stemmed from a dual diagnosis of Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes; her interest has grown leaps and bounds since starting her clinical rotations. Thank you for sharing your insights, Marisa!
Q: Why did you choose the UC Davis Medical Center Dietetic Internship?
A: I chose the UCDMC Dietetic Internship program because of the wide variety of inpatient and outpatient clinical experiences. Every rotation offers the opportunity to work with different patient populations, dietitians and interdisciplinary services. You really get a well-rounded experience!
Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned so far during this internship?
A: Your critical thinking skills will be tested all day, every day. You will be provided plenty of resources to help you come up with nutritional interventions for patients, but be mindful. What works for one patient may not work for the next. Learning how to use your clinical judgement comes with practice, but it’s what keeps this field so interesting and exciting!
Q: What have you found to be your greatest challenge?
A: Accepting that I don't know everything nor am I expected to know everything. The transition from sitting in a lecture hall as a student to working with actual patients in a hospital setting can be overwhelming at times. Fortunately, at UCDMC you'll be surrounded by the most amazing group of dietitians and healthcare workers who will help support and guide you toward becoming a successful entry-level dietitian.
Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment during your internship year?
A: Forming a truly unbreakable bond with my cohort. I think having our foodservice management rotation at the beginning of the year gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and learn to work well as a team. I honestly could not picture myself getting through this internship without their friendship and support.
Q: Prior to starting your dietetic internship what were your career goals and have they changed while going through the internship?
A: Before the internship, I knew I was interested in diabetes, pediatrics, and sports nutrition. While I’ve only recently begun my clinical core rotation, I found a new interest for renal disease and oncology after completing the didactic classes. I hope for the opportunity to work with these patients later on in the program.
Q: If you could give any piece of advice to future interns, what would it be?
A: Be open to constructive criticism from your preceptors; they'll help you to identify areas of strength and weakness. Take advantage of every opportunity to improve upon these strengths and weaknesses during the internship.