Have you been or currently are a preceptor for future dietitians?
I have been a preceptor since I started my first job out of my internship. I knew it was something I wanted to do after I had such a great experience with preceptors in my own internship. I also knew it was a key component to the success and future of our profession. We can't make this profession survive and thrive without preceptors.
Over the past few months, I have seen a lot of things that have upset me when it comes to interns and other dietitians speaking up about their internship and experiences. I am grateful these topics are coming up, as there is a need for reform of the internship process and programs. I am also saddened there are MANY people having bad experiences in what should be the part of their education preparing them for their first job and looks into what being a dietitian is.
There is NO room for bad experiences in an internship and working with a preceptor.
If you are not being the BEST preceptor that you can be, meaning a preceptor who is educating, helpful, attentive and being an all around mentor for an intern, then you need to STOP doing it. If you dread when an intern starts because it will slow your day down and will decrease productivity then do not say yes when a program calls you. You are doing a disservice to the intern who has paid a lot of money to learn everything they can from you. The person who has agreed to be there for them, with them in this experience.
On the first day an intern is with me, I tell them I want them to have a good experience. I do not expect them to do my work and be there for 12 hours a day. I want them to get what they want to experience from their time from me, ask questions, have conversations and give them time to work on the 800 assignments they have to do along being with me. I want them to know I am here for them and will support them along this stressful time, but will always be honest with them. And at the end of their time with me, I hope they learned something and had fun.
There is a need for change in our whole internship process, but let's do what we can right now to be great preceptors and lead our future dietitians in the right direction.